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Social media start-ups' value is enormous — if you trust investors
Social media start-ups' value is enormous — if you trust investors

SAN FRANCISCO — Snapchat is not even 3 years old. It's run by a couple of twentysomethings with no prior business experience. And it has never made a cent. Yet investors are fighting for the opportunity to throw hundreds of millions at the mobile messaging service that is all the rage with teens. The tiny Venice Beach start-up just turned down a $3-billion all-cash offer from Facebook Inc. And then, according to the Silicon Valley rumor mill, it rejected an offer from Google Inc., this one for $4 billion. That's a big pot of cash for a smartphone app that could vanish almost as quickly as the messages people send on it. Snapchat Inc. is just one of several young...

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