Meta Platforms, the oddly named parent of Facebook, posted its worst earnings in memory. Its shares now trade at $162, down from a 52-week high of $384.33. Its current market cap is $450 billion, which means more than $500 billion of value has been wiped out in less than a year.
The primary victim of this drop, financially, is CEO Mark Zuckerberg who owns a large number of shares, and a controlling interest in the stock. However, he is still worth $62 billion. He does not need any extra money. Many of his shareholders do.
The earnings report was unprecedented. The FT reported: “Meta has blamed macroeconomic pressures for its first year-on-year quarterly revenue decline and offered investors a gloomy outlook for the coming months as advertisers pull back on spending.”
Investors need to live with the fact that Meta’s results will not get better for several quarters or longer. Recessions almost always hammer the advertising industry. And, Facebook has formidable competition in Google and Amazon.
In the most recent quarter, revenue dropped 1% to $28.8 billion. Net income fell 36% to $6.7 billion.
Meta had already lost its way, well before earnings. The company states: “Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.” In reality, it is nothing more or less than the world’s largest social media company. As such, it has been attacked by governments and organizations as both a monopoly and a platform for misleading and hateful communications.
No matter what Meta is, there is something it is not; after decades of expansion, it is no longer a growth company.
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