Kik Interactive Said to Explore Sale or Corporate Investment

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Kik Interactive Inc., which makes a messaging application popular with young teens, is exploring a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company hired Qatalyst Partners to set up conversations with potential acquirers or corporate investors in Silicon Valley and Asia, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Kik, based in Waterloo, Ontario, hasn’t yet found an attractive deal, the people said.

Kik, with more than 200 million registered users, as of January had raised about $70 million. Kik is betting that larger corporations may want to capitalize on the increasing popularity of messaging applications. Snapchat Inc. recently raised funding from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. at a $15 billion valuation, and last year Facebook Inc. acquired WhatsApp Inc. for $22 billion.

Qatalyst will help Kik network with faraway companies and find all potential options, one of the people said. The company has about two years’ worth of financing and isn’t in danger of running out of cash, the person said.

Ted Livingston, Kik’s founder and chief executive officer, confirmed the talks.

“We had a lot of inbound interest, especially this year,” he said Wednesday in an interview. “We hired Qatalyst to work through all the options, one of which is to stay independent.”

A representative for San Francisco-based Qatalyst didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In a statement from the company late Wednesday, Livingston said, “We’re talking to pretty much every company to see what a partnership might look like.”

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