Meta Platforms founder Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth rose $12.4 billion on Thursday to $67.6 billion as the company’s shares skyrocketed 23%, a day after it reported quarterly earnings. It’s the biggest one-day gain for Zuckerberg since Facebook (now Meta) went public in May 2012.
Zuckerberg was one of the 10 richest people in the world for roughly seven years, but tumbled out of that elite group last fall when Meta’s share price plunged due to declining advertising revenue, competition from TikTok and a general tech slump. Now, he is the 16th richest person in the world, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaires tracker. That’s up from No. 22 just one day ago but far below his No. 3 spot from September 2021, when he was worth $136 billion.
The surge in Zuckerberg’s net worth comes after a rough 2022 for his company, in which he holds the vast majority of his fortune. Meta laid off 11,000 employees in late 2022 and reported a 41% drop in yearly profit. Wednesday’s earnings call wasn’t much better: Meta’s virtual and augmented reality arm, Reality Labs, posted its biggest quarterly operating loss yet at $4.3 billion. Meta also reported a 4.5% decrease in fourth-quarter revenue compared to the same period in the prior year—but surpassed analyst forecasts for a 6.5% revenue drop, which likely spurred the stock surge, as did the company’s plan to buy back $40 billion worth of its stock.
Zuckerberg kept his eyes focused forward and called 2023 the “year of efficiency” on Wednesday’s earnings call, during which he also discussed generative AI. Due to the likes of ChatGPT and image generator Stable Diffusion, the technology is exploding in the public sphere and has attracted attention from competitors including Alphabet and Microsoft; the latter is a big investor in ChatGPT parent OpenAI.
“We’ve entered somewhat of a phase change for the company, where we just grew so quickly for like the first 18 years of the company’s growth, and it’s very hard to really crank on efficiency while you’re growing that quickly,” Zuckerberg said on the call.
Even with Thursday’s 23% stock spike, Meta’s largest daily percentage gain since July 2013, the company’s stock is still 51% lower than its September 2021 peak.
Still, it’s been a good week for Zuckerberg and his fellow big tech founders. On Thursday, the fortunes of Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Alphabet’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page each rose by more than $4 billion.
Additionally, with Thursday’s net worth increase, the Meta CEO notably surpasses Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, who has lost more than $60 billion in the past week following fraud allegations from short seller Hindenburg Research. (Adani Group denies the allegations.)
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