Snapchat said to rebuff $3 billion offer from Facebook

Disappearing messages are no joke to the social network, which reportedly couldn't entice Snapchat to sell in an unprecedented all-cash deal.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
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Snapchat headquarters in Venice, Calif. Chris Kirkman

Facebook made Snapchat, maker of an app for exchanging ephemeral messages, an offer of lasting value: $3 billion in cash, according to The Wall Street Journal. Snapchat, true to its form, discarded the deal just as it does the 350 million messages it handles every day.

The rebuffed offer, more than three times the value of Facebook's successful bid for Instagram, comes as 2-year-old Snapchat explores a massive funding round at around a $4 billion valuation.

Though the Venice, Calif.-based company doesn't make money or disclose the exact size of its user base, Snapchat has managed to capture the attention of tweens and teens, a crowd that's tiring of Facebook. The app is also estimated to be used by 9 percent of adult cell phone owners in the US, according to research conducted by Pew.

A $3 billion offer for a revenue-less app hints at Facebook's desperation to buy the love of the Internet's youngest users. The social network had previously bid more than $1 billion for the simple send-it-and-forget-it application, according to The Wall Street Journal. Snapchat's refusal, unbelievable though it may be, suggests that the young company is getting exactly the terms it wants as it considers taking hundreds of millions of dollars in financing from investors.

Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel probably won't consider an acquisition or an investment until early 2014, sources told the Journal. For his sake, one can only hope that disappearing messages don't vanish from pop culture just as quickly as they arrived.

Facebook declined to comment on the rumored bid. Snapchat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.