Snap Inc (SNAP) has reached an agreement to acquire WaveOptics. The Verge reports that the camera and social media company will pay more than $500 million for the supplier of augmented reality (AR) displays used in its new spectacles.
WaveOptic’s 125-person team will join and report to the director of Snap’s hardware division. Snap, which owns Snapchat, will finance half of the deal with stock and the remaining half either in stock or cash. The $500 million-plus takeover will be the largest ever for Snap, affirming its strong belief in AR eyewear.
WaveOptics has made a name for itself by developing waveguides, a display technology that enables the overlaying of virtual objects in the real world. Currently, Snap is using its displays in its newly launched spectacles that have been offered to some AR effect creators. According to Snap's spokesperson, WaveOptics will continue supplying other companies with its waveguides technology, even after Snap's acquisition of the company.
Additionally, the acquisition is a defensive move by the social networking giant. Many of the company’s competitors have opted to develop their AR technology instead of pursuing acquisitions to gain a head start on the technology. (See SNAP stock analysis on TipRanks)
Apple (AAPL), like Snap, is pursuing the technology through an acquisition. Having bought waveguide maker Akonia in 2018, Apple plans to unveil an AR headset sometime next year.
Following its 2021 Partner Summit in which Snap outlined new additions to its platform, including augmented reality, Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald has reiterated a Buy rating on the stock.
Fitzgerald stated, “In our view, the Summit demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic had done little to slow SNAP’s product development momentum, with impressive AR, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and hardware innovations on display. We came away from the event with increased confidence in SNAP’s product momentum and believe that SNAP has ample runway across its five key platforms.”
The analyst has a $91 price target, implying 60.75% upside potential to current levels.
Consensus among analysts on Wall Street is a Strong Buy based on 26 Buy, 6 Hold, and 1 Sell ratings. The average analyst price target of $77.43 implies 36.8% upside potential to current levels.
SNAP scores a “Perfect 10” on TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, implying it is likely to outperform market expectations.