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Instagram Is Now Valued At $35 Billion By Citigroup Analysts

Less than three years after Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion, the photo-sharing service is now worth $35 billion, according to analysts at Citigroup.

Instagram's user base has skyrocketed since the acquisition, in part because of its integration with Facebook but also because the purchase roughly coincided with the release of an Instagram app for Android smartphones.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it surpassed 300 million users.

The hefty valuation was included along with Citigroup analyst Mark May's guidance that Facebook's stock should be valued around $91. Since August, Facebook shares have been hovering in the 70s.

May is quoted by Forbes:

"'Not only is Instagram's audience now larger than Twitter, but its users are ~1.8x more engaged, and user growth has been greater,' May writes in a note to clients Friday. 'Instagram is at the early stages of rolling out advertising, but we believe brands have and will find it an effective channel.'"

In his previous analysis of the photo service, May had valued it at $19 billion.

If you're wondering how the $35 billion valuation compares to other companies, Bloomberg News says the estimate "puts Instagram in the same realm as American Airlines Group Inc., with a market capitalization of $36.4 billion, and Kraft Foods Group Inc., at $37.2 billion."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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