Mark Zuckerberg has seen $29bn wiped off his net worth after the share price of Meta – owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – saw a record one-day plunge.
The 26% collapse in the stock erased more than $200bn from Meta’s market capitalisation, the biggest single-day drop in value for a US company ever seen.
It was prompted by disappointing quarterly results showing Facebook’s first ever fall in daily users in its 18-year history and a squeeze on ad revenues, while highlighting growing pressure from social media rivals such as TikTok.
Mr Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive of Meta, owns about 12.8% of the company – which is still valued at more than $660bn.
But the fall in his net worth to $85bn takes the 37-year-old down to 12th in the Forbes billionaires list, having been rated at fifth last year.
Meta’s results showed a dip in Facebook daily active user numbers to 1.929 billion in the last three months of last year, down from 1.93 billion in the previous quarter while quarterly profits were 8% lower than a year earlier.
For 2021 as a whole, it still made a profit of $39.4bn, up 35% on the prior year.
But much in the gigantic valuations of America’s tech giants is based on the prospect of future earnings and Meta disappointed on that score with revenues for the first quarter of this year pencilled in at a lower than expected level.
That prompted a sharp slump in the share price in after-hours trading following the release of the results late on Wednesday, which was confirmed when New York markets opened on Thursday.
That is because higher rates make it less attractive to bet on future returns from growth stocks.
However in recent days other tech giants are back in favour with well-received results.
Amazon’s share price added 15% in after-hours trading on Thursday after it hiked the subscription price for members of its Prime programme and reported a 50% rise in profits to $33.4bn.
That put founder Jeff Bezos, who owns about a tenth of the business, in line for a $20bn increase in net worth if the gains were replicated when markets opened on Friday.
Elsewhere, Snap – owner of Snapchat – illustrated the volatility in the sector as its shares rose more than 50% in after-hours trading on Thursday, after posting a quarterly profit for the first time and reporting better than expected growth in user numbers.
It had plunged by 24% during regular trading earlier in the day following Meta’s slump.