Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth just jumped $28 billion in one day after Meta stock plummeted

Meta Platforms Inc. is back, and so is Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune.

The Facebook co-founder’s net worth rose by $28.1 billion after Meta’s quarterly results far exceeded Wall Street expectations, sending its shares up about 20%. He is now worth $170.5 billion, the richest he has ever been, and has surpassed Bill Gates to take fourth place in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

It’s a big comeback for Zuckerberg’s wealth, which fell below $35 billion at the end of 2022 as tech stocks tumbled in the face of inflation and interest rate hikes, only to skyrocket again in 2023.

The positive results will benefit Zuckerberg in other ways as well: He will receive a payment of about $700 million a year from the social media giant’s first-ever dividend to investors.

Meta announced a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per share for its Class A and B common stock starting in March. With about 350 million shares in hand, Zuckerberg would take home about $175 million in each pre-tax quarterly payment, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Meta’s move to pay a dividend sends a signal about the company’s view on its growth potential. Often, the fastest-growing technology companies eschew dividends in favor of using profits to develop new products or make expensive acquisitions. While Meta is investing heavily in artificial intelligence initiatives, its acquisition prospects are diminishing in the face of regulatory opposition.

After Meta laid off about 21,000 people and narrowed its priorities, shares nearly tripled in 2023. The new dividend and an additional $50 billion in stock buybacks could win more patience from investors with long-term bets by Zuckerberg on artificial intelligence and the metaverse.

According to filings, Zuckerberg took home $27.1 million in total compensation in 2022, including private security costs and a $1 base salary. Meta has not yet reported executive compensation for last year.

A company spokesperson declined to comment.

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