SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook parent company Meta posted lower fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Wednesday, hurt by a downturn in the online advertising market and competition from rivals such as TikTok.
But the company's stock soared in extended trading, as its revenue beat Wall Street's muted expectations and the Menlo Park, California-based company announced a $40 billion stock buyback.
This is the third consecutive quarter of revenue decline for the tech giant, which laid off 11,000 workers, or about 13% of its workforce, in November. CEO Mark Zuckerberg blamed the layoffs on aggressive hiring during the pandemic, when Meta's business boomed because people were stuck at home, scrolling on their phones and computers, glued to social media. But as the lockdowns ended and people started going outside again, revenue growth began to falter.
Meta's mega stock buyback appeared to ease investors' concerns over the company's spending on the “metaverse” — an immersive digital universe, viewed through a headset, that Zuckerberg predicts will eventually replace smartphones as the primary way people use technology.
Meta Platforms Inc. said it earned $4.65 billion, or $1.76 per share, in the final three months of 2022. That's down 55% from $10.29 billion, or $3.67 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.26 per share, according to a poll by FactSet.
Revenue fell 4% to $32.17 billion from $33.67 billion. Analysts were expecting $31.55 billion.
Meta's shares jumped almost 18% in after-hours trading. The stock had closed the regular trading session at $153.12, down 52% in the last year.