Facebook-parent Meta successfully beat Wall Street estimates for its revenue for the final quarter of 2022, even though it clocked a revenue decline for a third consecutive quarter. That, coupled with a massive $40Bn buyback, has sent the stock soaring to its biggest intraday surge in nearly a decade.
During the three months ended December 31, 2022 – a period that saw Meta lay off thousands and pull back on expenditure on advertisements – the social media company reported $32.17 billion in revenue, representing a year-over-year (YoY) decline of 4% and higher than the $31.53 billion that Wall Street had estimated. For the year ended December 31, Meta’s revenue dropped by 1% to reach $116.6 billion.
Its total costs and expenses for the winter quarter rose by 22% to $25.7 billion, while the same for the entire year grew by 23% to reach $87.7 billion. Its income from operations for the quarter dropped by 49% to $6.4 billion, while the same for the year saw a relatively smaller decline – 38% – to $28.9 billion. Its net income and diluted earnings per share (EPS) were among others to clock YoY declines – the net income for the quarter dropped by 55% to $4.6 billion, while its EPS fell by 52% to $1.76.
Meta stock rose by nearly 19% in after-hours trade and is currently placed at $153.12.
While much of Meta’s financials dropped at a time of a global economic slowdown and taking stocks, it clocked a rise in the number of users. Facebook’s daily active people (DAP) rose by 5% YoY to 2.96 billion for December, while its monthly active people (MAP) grew by 4% annually to 3.74 billion. Facebook’s daily active users (DAUs) clocked an annual growth of 4% to 2 billion on average for December, while its monthly active users (MAUs) grew by 2% YoY to 2.96 billion.
“Our community continues to grow and I’m pleased with the strong engagement across our apps. Facebook just reached the milestone of 2 billion daily activities,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder, and CEO. “The progress we’re making on our AI discovery engine and Reels are major drivers of this. Beyond this, our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization.”
Going forward, Meta expects to pocket around $26-28.5 billion in revenue for the first quarter of the year, which is in line with analyst expectations of $27.1 billion. Its expenses for the year are also estimated to fall between $89-95 billion, something the company attributed to “slower anticipated growth in payroll expenses and cost of revenue.” It also lowered its estimated capital expenditures to be in the range of $30-33 billion.
There are some areas at Meta that continue to bleed. Reality Labs, where Meta has already invested billions over the past years in pursuit of its metaverse, continues to yield losses. For the fourth quarter, Meta’s home to its metaverse ambitions clocked a loss of $4.28 billion, while its revenue for the quarter dropped to $727 million for the winter quarter as well. Pulling back on ad spending and the post-pandemic slump in digital ads saw Meta’s revenue from advertising drop to $31.2 billion for the quarter, while revenue from its Family of Apps fell to $31.4 billion (although it pocketed $10.67 billion in income from operations for the quarter).