An image of the Snapchat logo created with Post-it notes is seen in the windows of Havas Worldwide at 200 Hudson Street in lower Manhattan, New York, US. Picture: REUTERS
An image of the Snapchat logo created with Post-it notes is seen in the windows of Havas Worldwide at 200 Hudson Street in lower Manhattan, New York, US. Picture: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO —  US officials are looking into how forthright Snapchat was with aspiring investors prior to its stock market debut last year, its parent company Snap said on Wednesday.

Snap has been responding to subpoenas and requests for information from the department of justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, a spokesperson said.

The inquiries apparently stemmed from a class-action lawsuit filed against Snap by investors who contend the company did not reveal how much of a competitive threat Snap faced from Facebook-owned Instagram.

“It is our understanding that these regulators are investigating issues related to the previously disclosed allegations asserted in the class action about our IPO [initial public offering] disclosures,” the Snap spokesperson said.

“While we do not have complete visibility into these investigations, our understanding is that the [department] is likely focused on IPO disclosures relating to competition from Instagram.”

Snap disputed the lawsuit’s claims, calling them “meritless”, and said it would continue to co-operate with regulators.

Snap shares were down 4.1% to $6.44 in late afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares were priced at $17 for Snap’s initial public offering in March 2017.

Snap came under selling pressure late in October after a quarterly report showing a loss of  1-million users even as it grew revenues and narrowed losses.

Analysts say Snapchat has become the most popular social network among teens and young adults, but user growth has stalled as Facebook and its Instagram platform introduce services similar to those of Snapchat, known for its disappearing messages.

Although Snapchat is best known for its smartphone messaging, it has also developed partnerships with numerous media outlets eager to reach its audience with news, video and other content.

Snap recently announced it was launching a new slate of original video shows under its own brand in the latest move to spark growth. — AFP