Bolstered by surging revenues, the growing popularity of Facebook Live and the recent debut of a food-delivery service, shares of Facebook rose 1.5% Friday, finishing 3% above Monday’s opening price. As the company heads toward its quarterly earnings announcement on November 2, the stock is now trading at an all-time high.
The biggest beneficiary is, of course, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s cofounder and largest individual shareholder.This week alone Zuckerberg’s net worth increased by more than $1.6 billionto an estimated $56.6 billion; he is currently the fifth-wealthiest person in the world, according to FORBES’ real-time ranking of The World’s Billionaires, ahead of Mexico’s Carlos Slim, once the planet’s richest person.
Facebook has had an all-around stellar 2016. Shares are up over a quarter since January 1, despite briefly slumping soon after the New Year. As a result, Zuckerberg, who has a controlling voting interest in the company, jumped to fourth place on this year’s edition ofThe Forbes 400, up from seventh in 2015. He is now behind only Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.
Analysts remain almost universally confident that the social media giant will continue to post strong results. With Facebook’s third-quarter earnings report around the corner, the business is projected to bring in roughly $7 billion in revenue, driven by huge growth in video advertising, particularly on mobile.
One further cause for optimism is the addition of new features to Facebook’s platform that may increase the time users spend on the site (and, in turn, the ad revenue they generate). This week the company unveiled tools that will enable users to directly order food delivery, buy movie tickets or request appointments. The features, which resemble offerings on Chinese platforms like Baidu and WeChat, could push average usage time even higher than the current figure of 50 minutes per day.
Of course, Facebook’s ballooning market cap does not impact Zuckerberg’s wealth alone. Cofounders Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz also had a lucrative week; they earned about $200 million and $300 million, respectively, from their stakes in the business. Saverin is now worth an estimated $7.8 billion; Moskovitz roughly $10.6 billion.
Though Zuckerberg’s net worth may have surged as of late, his fortune is likely to fall in coming years. Last month he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, committed $3 billion to scientific research “over the next decade, with the goal of curing disease”—the first step in a promise to give away 99% of their Facebook shares over their lifetimes.
As of this week, that pledge is worth more than ever.
source: forbes.com by Noah Kirsch