Messaging app Kik could be up for sale

It doesn't have WhatsApp's numbers, but Kik has proven popular among teens in the US and around the world.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Kik could be well on its way to being acquired, according to a new report. Kik

Kik, the popular messaging app among teens, might soon have a new owner.

The company behind the app, Kik Interactive, has hired investment bank Qatalyst Partners to help it field offers for a buyout or major investment from a corporate partner, Bloomberg is reporting, citing a conversation with the company's founder and CEO, Ted Livingston. According to Livingston, Kik has received some tentative acquisition bids and has "hired Qatalyst to work through all the options." It's still possible, Livingston said, that Kik "stay independent" after those "options" are considered. There is no timeline on any potential acquisition.

Kik is one of several popular messaging applications running on mobile platforms like iOS and Android. The service, which has over 200 million registered users in 230 countries around the world, provides text, photo, and video messaging between users. While it's in a crowded market, competing against services such as WhatsApp, WeChat, BBM and Facebook Messenger, Kik has found a niche among America's teens. The company claims that over 40 percent of American youth is using Kik.

The current leader, though, is WhatsApp, with over 700 million registered users. Still, some companies may be willing to pay serious cash for a popular messaging application. In October, for instance, Facebook completed its acquisition of WhatsApp in a deal valued at $19 billion.

Although Kik is looking at a possible sale or major investment from a corporate partner, the company appears to be flush with cash. In November, Kik announced that it raised $38.3 million, bringing its total funding to date to $70.5 million. The company didn't say at the time what its valuation was during that funding round, and also declined to say how much money it's seeking in a potential buyout.

Kik did not immediately respond to a request for comment.