Mark Zuckerberg loses US$29 billion in a day as Meta shares crash

Mr Mark Zuckerberg could be pushed outside the list of the top 10 wealthiest people in the world for the first time since July 2015. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Mark Zuckerberg lost US$29 billion (S$39 billion) in net worth on Thursday (Feb 3) as Meta Platforms' stock marked a record one-day plunge following a disappointing earnings forecast that shook the global tech landscape.

Meta’s stock fell 26 per cent, erasing more than US$200 billion in the biggest ever single-day market value wipeout for a US company.

That pulled down founder and chief executive officer Zuckerberg’s net worth to US$85 billion, according to Forbes.

Zuckerberg owns about 12.8 per cent of the tech behemoth formerly known as Facebook.

His one-day wealth decline is among the biggest ever and comes after Tesla top boss Elon Musk’s US$35 billion single-day paper loss in November. Musk, the world’s richest person, had then polled Twitter users if he should sell 10 per cent of his stake in the electric carmaker. Tesla shares have yet to recover from the resulting selloff.

At least 21 brokerages cut price targets on Meta after the company posted a weaker-than-expected forecast on Wednesday, blaming Apple’s privacy changes and increased competition for users from rivals including TikTok and YouTube.

Following the US$29 billion wipeout, Zuckerberg is in the twelfth spot on Forbes’ list of real-time billionaires, below Indian business moguls Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani.

To be sure, trading in technology stocks remains volatile as investors struggle to price in the impact of high inflation and an expected rise in interest rates. Meta shares could very well recover sooner rather than later, with the hit to Zuckerberg’s wealth staying on paper.

Zuckerberg sold US$4.47 billion worth of Meta shares last year, before 2021’s tech rout. The stock sales were carried out as part of a pre-set 10b5-1 trading plan, which executives use to allay concerns about insider trading.

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