Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is poised to tender a $200 million investment in Snapchat that would value the ephemeral photo messaging service at $15 billion.
Though investors are clamoring for a piece of Snapchat, the company’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, has refused to comment on fundraising initiatives. “We are famous for not talking about the future,” he quipped at a tech summit in Santa Monica, Calif., earlier this week.
The Alibaba deal, were it to go through, would place Snapchat just behind Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and car-booking platform Uber as the third highest-valued startup in the world. Valuations for Xiaomi and Uber have been pegged at $45 billion and $40 billion, respectively.
And this is not the first time that Alibaba has reportedly considered an investment in Snapchat. Last summer, before its record-shattering IPO, Alibaba was said to be considering an investment in Snapchat that would value the company at $10 billion. Though Alibaba ultimately passed at the time, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers invested $20 million in Snapchat for a 1 percent stake at a $10 billion valuation.
Renewed interest by Alibaba reveals a desire to expand into overseas markets and into social networking, analysts told Bloomberg. Last March, Alibaba invested $215 million in Tango, a free messaging platform with social networking features.