Mark Zuckerberg to pocket $700m a year from Meta’s new dividend policy

The chief executive of the biggest social media platform is the world’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of $142 billion

The majority of Mark Zuckerberg's wealth is derived from his 12.8 per cent stake in Meta Platforms. AP
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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta Platforms, could receive a payout of about $700 million a year from the social media company’s first-ever dividend announced for investors.

On Thursday, the parent company of Facebook, the world's biggest social media platform, announced plans to buy back an additional $50 billion in shares and issue its first quarterly dividend since listing in May 2012.

The company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said it would pay a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents a share for class A and B common stock, beginning in March.

With Mr Zuckerberg holding about 350 million shares, he would take home about $175 million in each quarterly payment before taxes, according to Bloomberg data.

He currently has a net worth of $142 billion and is the world’s fifth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Mr Zuckerberg took home $27.1 million in total compensation in 2022, including private security costs and a base salary of $1, according to Meta’s filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Meta has not yet reported executive compensation for 2023.

He was one of the biggest wealth movers of 2023. The majority of Mr Zuckerberg's wealth is derived from his 12.8 per cent stake in Meta.

In 2022, he was languishing in 25th place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $44 billion after Meta’s stock plunged, dragged down by disappointing quarterly results and concerns that he was spending too much time – and money – on the metaverse.

However, thanks to its “Magnificent Seven” membership, Meta recovered its losses in 2023 and boosted Mr Zuckerberg’s wealth by an impressive 180.8 per cent, or $82.5 billion.

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Faster-growing tech companies typically avoid paying dividends to investors in favour of using earnings to develop new products or make expensive acquisitions, according to Bloomberg.

Apple has paid dividends on and off since 1987, and Microsoft started doling out dividends in 2003.

The last time Meta authorised a share buyback of this size was in October 2021, when it was still posting surprising growth in the number of people actively using its network of social media apps, Bloomberg reported.

The California-based company reported a 201 per cent yearly surge in fourth-quarter net profit, driven by a jump in advertising revenue and an increase in user numbers.

It posted a net profit of more than $14 billion in the quarter that ended on December 31, up 21 per cent compared with the third quarter.

Revenue for the three-month period surged by an annual 25 per cent to more than $40.1 billion, exceeding analyst estimates of $39.1 billion.

This is the third consecutive quarter that the company has reported double-digit revenue growth since the fourth quarter of 2021.

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Meta had a market value of about $1.01 trillion at the close of trade on Thursday.

“We had a good quarter as our community and business continue to grow,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“We have made a lot of progress on our vision for advancing AI [artificial intelligence] and the metaverse.”

As part of its restructuring efforts in March, Meta announced it would make redundant 10,000 employees and close about 5,000 open roles.

Last November, the company made redundant 11,000 employees – 13 per cent of its workforce.

Updated: February 02, 2024, 7:16 AM