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Snap confirms new Utah office

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Gov. Gary Herbert visited the Snap Inc. headquarters in Venice, California, on a recent trade mission.

Gov. Gary Herbert visited the Snap Inc. headquarters in Venice, California, on a recent trade mission.

Utah Technology Council

SALT LAKE CITY — Just weeks after Snap Inc. quashed rumors about coming to Utah, a local trade association confirmed Thursday that the company, best known for its Snapchat multimedia messaging platform, will open its first office in the Beehive State.

And the state will help sweeten the decision with a 20 percent rebate on the company's expected tax liabilities.

Utah Technology Council President and CEO John Knotwell said Snap Inc.'s decision to create a Utah presence is a coup.

“We are learning time and time again that our quality of life, focus on STEM education and collaborative spirit are a magnifying force for companies to move to Utah," said Knotwell, who visited the company's California headquarters on a recent trade mission with state officials.

"Snapchat is one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world. Their new office will add a unique and creative perspective to the makeup of Silicon Slopes," he said.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development also announced Thursday it had granted Snap a tax incentive package.

The post-performance deal gives the company a $2.5 million break over the next 15 years if it hits its self-reported marks of paying out $334 million in wages over the same time period while remitting $12.7 million in corporate, payroll and sales taxes.

Governor's Office of Economic Development Executive Director Val Hale said it made sense for Snap Inc. to come to Utah, after acquiring Utah QR code company Scan.me in 2014 for $54 million.

“Snap Inc’s innovative approach and high-paying jobs are a natural fit for our thriving tech community,” Hale said. “Snap acquired a Utah County-based company a few years ago, and we are pleased that they have maintained strong ties to the state since then. Their presence in the state will be a nice addition to the state’s growing tech industry.”

The economic development office reports the 50 new Snap jobs will pay better than 110 percent of the local average wage. The agency also noted the new Utah-based Snap team will be working on camera technology and augmented reality projects.

Clint Betts, executive director of tech business advocacy group Silicon Slopes, celebrated the news and highlighted that Snap will be coming to a proven tech-friendly clime.

"We're thrilled to have Snap open an office in Silicon Slopes," Betts said. "Companies and talent from all around the world are flocking to Silicon Slopes due to our friendly business environment, incredible talent base and, most importantly, the cohesive and vibrant community that exists here."

Snap Inc.'s stock tumbled 18 percent earlier this week when the company's report on its number of daily active users fell short of investor expectations. Snap's fiscal health has been the subject of continued conjecture in the investment community after a downward slide in its stock price in the months following a much ballyhooed initial public offering last March.

Snap Inc. stock first became available at $17 a share, rose briefly to just over $27 a share, and since then has dipped as low as about $12 a share. At the end of trading Thursday, share prices stood at $12.38, giving the company a market capitalization of $14.8 billion.

A Snap Inc. spokesman did not immediately respond to an inquiry about where the new office will be located.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development announced two other tax incentive packages Thursday.

• Utah-based TaskEasy, a lawn care service company, will expand in the state, with plans to add 191 jobs and make $6.5 million in capital investments over the next five years. GOED will grant the company $806,000 in post-performance tax rebates on an expected $5.4 million in corporate, payroll and sales tax payments over that time. The company reports it will pay out $50.8 million in new wages over the same period.

• eShares, doing business as Carta, is company based in Palo Alto, California, that specializes in corporate ownership/management processes. The company is planning an expansion into Utah with an expected $5.7 million in capital investments and the creation of 464 new jobs. The economic development office granted the company a post-performance tax incentive package that will pay the company $1.1 million in rebates on an expected tax liability of $5.7 million over five years. Carta reports it will pay $122.7 million in wages over that time.