Prince Alwaleed acquires 2.3% stake in Snapchat

Snap will report quarterly results today Facebook and Twitter’s debacles cast a shadow

The ephemeral social media company revealed in its latest earnings report that its daily active user count has dipped, attributing the decline to early frustrations with its new-look app.

On Tuesday the messaging app's parent company, Snap Inc., reported its Q2 2018 earnings, and it included its first-ever decline in daily active users following a highly controversial decline.

Snap has been working to convince big advertisers to spend more of their budgets on Snapchat ads and reach the app's base of mainly 18-34-year-old users, and it beat analyst revenue forecasts as it drew in more worldwide and small business advertisers. Snap stock was trading at just over $13 a share ahead of Tuesday afternoon's report, down from a 52-week high of $21.22.

Spiegel said Snapchat's drop in daily users "was primarily driven by a slightly lower frequency of use among our user base due to the disruption caused by our redesign". Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said in prepared remarks that the redesign was the primary reason for usage slipping, but he credited the changes for increasing viewership of key ad-supported content this year.

After a tumultuous first year as a public company, Snap is starting to show some stability, despite the slowdown in user growth.

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Snap picked up a big backer in Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who announced soon after the second-quarter results he had bought a 2.3 percent stake for $250 million in May. In other words, it's losing users, but it's making more money.

Second-quarter revenue of $262 million compared with $182 million in the same period a year ago, with a loss down to $358 million from $449 million.

Investors, it seems, are unsure what to make of Snap's mixed results. That has come at the cost of the premium feel Snap had tried to ascribe to its ads, but given overall sales a jolt by attracting more advertisers. It reported an adjusted loss of 14 cents a share, which was better than the average analyst expectations of a 17 cents a share loss, according to surveys by Thomson Reuters.

But the change has made it more hard for Snapchat to distinguish itself from other video-heavy apps and draw premium prices.

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