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Snap ready to grow up: Hires Sony exec as chairman

Michael Lynton, who led Sony's movie and TV studios during a massive hack in 2014, will become chairman of Snapchat's parent company ahead of its IPO.

Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, was one of Snapchat's earliest investors.
Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images

Snapchat's parent company is gearing up for an IPO this year, and it's made another personnel change before it goes public.

Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Entertainment -- Sony's movie, TV and music division -- is stepping down to become Snap's chairman. Sony made the announcement Friday.

Snap, parent company of the wildly popular social media app founded by 26-year-old Evan Spiegel, is expected to make its market debut as early as March at a valuation that reportedly could be around $25 billion.

"I have been involved with Evan and Snapchat since its early days, and, given its growth since then, decided the time was right to transition," he said in the statement.

Lynton is one of Snapchat's earliest investors, and has been a member of the company's board for almost four years. He reportedly was one of the people who advised Spiegel to spurn Facebook's now infamous takeover offer worth at least $3 billion.

The move is the latest in Snapchat's rise from something most people wrote off as a sexting app to an emerging tech power player. In September, the company unveiled Spectacles, video camera-equipped sunglasses that let people shoot videos to be uploaded to Snapchat. The company also adopted the Snap moniker, a clear signal that it was broadening its vision beyond just the app.

While at Sony, Lynton faced his share of rockiness. He presided over Sony Entertainment during a high-profile hack in 2014. Sony said he'd stay on for up to six months as co-CEO with Kaz Hirai, Sony's chief executive, until they find a successor.

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