Facebook owner Meta to pay first dividend as three tech giants post bumper figures

Facebook owner Meta said it will pay its first dividend as three of the world’s biggest tech firms posted bumper figures.

In an announcement last night, the social media giant proposed a divi of $0.50 per share in a major boost for investors.

It came as Meta posted revenues of £106billion for 2023, up 16 per cent from the year before.

Profits climbed a quarter to £31billion.

The company, which owns Instagram and Whatsapp as well as Facebook, said it now intends to pay a cash dividend on a quarterly basis.

In an announcement last night, social media giant Meta proposed a divi of $0.50 per share in a major boost for investors

The dividend announcement rounds off founder Mark Zuckerberg’s so-called ‘year of efficiency’, which saw the group lay off 21,000 employees and cut several innovative projects.

The company now has around 67,000 employees around the world, a fifth less than it did the year before.

Meta shares jumped 14 per cent in after-hours trading following the announcement.

But it wasn’t just Facebook that enjoyed a boost.

Amazon also posted stellar figures for the year, with sales hitting £451billion in 2023.

This was up from the £403billion it made the previous year and came after sales in the Christmas quarter reached £133billion.

Annual profits for the year hit £24billion.

Andy Jassy, Amazon chief executive, said: ‘This fourth quarter was a record-breaking holiday shopping season and closed out a robust 2023 for Amazon’. 

Amazon had also cut 28,000 jobs during 2023 as it retreated from its hiring spree during the pandemic.

The tech sector cut 262,595 jobs in total through the course of 2023, according to data tracker Layoffs.fyi.

Meanwhile Apple, which managed to dodge any major job cuts last year, posted a strong first quarter.

This was largely bolstered by sales of its iPhone and strong growth at its services arm, which includes streaming service Apple TV.

The tech giant posted revenues of £94billion for the three months to the end of December, while profits hit £27billion.

The results come hot on the heels of fellow ‘Magnificent Seven’ members, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft, which both posted their own quarterly results this week.

Alphabet reported its fastest-growing quarter of revenue growth since early 2022, with sales of £67.7billion for the three months to the end of December – up 13 per cent from a year before, boosted by its cloud computing arm.

But advertising remained a sore point, with fierce competition from platforms such as Facebook, Tiktok and Amazon, and a tough economic backdrop.

Microsoft, which recently became the world’s most valuable company – topping $3trillion – posted record sales of £49billion in the three months to December on the back of booming demand for AI and cloud technology.

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