Snapchat made various start-up acquisitions, according to leaked Sony emails

17 Dec 2014

Snapchat reportedly made a number of secret acquisitions, including Vergence Labs, and AddLive, according to leaked Sony emails that emerged from the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

It is understood that emails between messaging app Snapchat, its board member Mitch Lasky and the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Michael Lynton related how much Snapchat paid for various start-ups.

Snapchat is understood to have bought QR code and iBeacon start-up for US$14m in cash, US$3m in restricted stock units and US$33m in Class B stock.

According to TechCrunch, it also acquired a Google Glass-like company called Vergence Labs for US$11m in cash and US$4m in stock. Vergence’s technology allows users to record video by pressing a button inside the frame of their glasses and can store 16GB or 32GB of video.

Snapchat is also understood to have paid US$10m in cash and US$20m in stock for AddLive, which powers Snapchat’s real-time video chat feature.

The emails reportedly reveal Snapchat has been working on a music feature for its app.

The messages also appear to confirm that Snapchat did indeed spurn an acquisition offer by social network Facebook for US$3bn.

Cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment

The recent cyberattack by a group calling itself Guardians of Peace knocked much of Sony Pictures’ network offline, resulted in the theft and distribution online of five movies about to be released to cinemas worldwide, as well as the exposure of vital records, including celebrity data and more than 47,000 social security numbers.

However, a bigger ruckus that has gotten under the skin of Sony has been the leaking of emails between executives, producers, directors and A-list celebs, including individuals such as screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and actor Channing Tatum.

North Korea has denied allegations that it has been behind the attack on Sony Pictures because of its anger at the release of black comedy The Interview, which portrays life and leadership in the Hermit Kingdom. It did, however, describe the attack as “a righteous deed”.

Hacker at keyboard image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years