According to an exclusive report by Fortune, Snapchat has acquired Toronto-based Bitstrips in a deal valued at about $100 million, in combination of cash and stock.
News about the acquisition was reported by multiple sources. A spokeswoman for Snapchat, however, refused to issue a comment, while Jacob "Ba" Blackstock, the founder of Bitstrips, had no response to a request for comment.
What is Bitstrips, and why would Snapchat agree to acquire it for about $100 million?
Bitstrips started out in 2007 as a means for users to create personalized digital comics, allowing users to create characters and place them, along with comic book text boxes, in various scenarios using a wide range of templates.
In 2014, however Bitstrips shifted its focus away from digital comics and into customizable and shareable cartoon avatars. Users create these avatars, known as "bitmojis," by choosing from a wide collection of characteristics such as face shape and skin color. The bitmojis can then be placed in different poses and outfitted with different accessories. Users can also use the bitmojis that they create in responses to text messages.
As to what Snapchat has in store for Bitstrips, that information is still unclear. However, it should be noted that a recent update began to allow Bitstrips users to paste their avatar on top of images that are stored in their mobile device. This is similar to a feature in Snapchat that allows users to place localized illustration of landmarks on top of their pictures when they are near those places.
Bitmojis, or whatever Snapchat ends up calling the customizable avatars, could also soon be coming to the messaging service, which would add to the app's other popular features.
Recently added features to Snapchat look to take advantage of the upcoming release of the highly anticipated "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." One filter allows users to transform themselves into the Dark Knight, while another allows users to take on the role of the Son of Krypton.