Facebook is now worth $1 trillion after a US court’s dismissal of 2 antitrust lawsuits spurs jump in stock

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before The House Financial Services Committee
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook hit a $1 trillion valuation for the first time on Monday after an antitrust court victory.
  • A US judge dismissed two lawsuits lodged against Facebook by the FTC and state attorneys general.
  • The social-media giant is the youngest of five US companies to reach the trillion-dollar milestone.
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Facebook leapt into the $1 trillion territory on Monday after an antitrust court victory helped its stock reach that valuation for the first time, making it the fifth US company to achieve the milestone.

The social-media giant’s stock closed 4.2% higher on Monday at $355.64 per share, after a US federal judge dismissed two complaints filed against the company in December by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general.

The ensuing rally lifted Facebook into the trillion-dollar club as markets gave the court win a huge “like,” and boosted the rest of the tech sector, said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

US District Judge James Boasberg in Washington ruled that the FTC failed to support its claims that Facebook held monopoly power as it controls more than 60% of the social-networking market. However, the antitrust and consumer protection agency has 30 days to refile its complaint and try again.

Social networking “services are free to use, and the exact metes and bounds of what even constitutes a [social networking] service – i.e., which features of a company’s mobile app or website are included in that definition and which are excluded – are hardly crystal clear,” Boasberg said in the ruling dismissing the FTC’s complaint.

“The FTC’s inability to offer any indication of the metric(s) or method(s) it used to calculate Facebook’s market share renders its vague ‘60%-plus’ assertion too speculative and conclusory to go forward,” he added.

The judge separately dismissed a lawsuit brought by 46 states challenging Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp, on grounds that they waited too long to put forward their claims. The states’ attorneys general argued that Facebook had acquired those companies to stifle competition from emerging social-media rivals.

Facebook, co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, is the youngest of five US companies to hit the $1 trillion milestone, after just 17 years of existence. The Menlo Park, California-based company’s all-time-high market valuation sees it join other tech leaders Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google parent Alphabet in reaching the 13-digit mark.

Facebook’s stock has added more than $592 billion in value since it hit a March 2020 market-cap low of about $416 billion. Its gains have been aided by people increasingly relying on its platform for staying in touch with friends, family, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Mark Zuckerberg has cashed in more than $1 billion in Facebook stock so far this year – roughly double his sales for all of 2020

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Facebook CEOP Mark Zuckerberg in New York City on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.

Mark Zuckerberg has cashed in over $1 billion worth of Facebook stock so far this year, according to data from 83 separate SEC filings.

That’s nearly double his total sales of just over $540 million for all of 2020. The Facebook co-founder and CEO retains a roughly 13% stake in his company after the sales.

In 2015, after the birth of his daughter, Zuckerberg pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook holdings to charity throughout his life.

In the last year alone, the Facebook co-founder has grown his fortune by an incredible $40 billion.

Zuckerberg became one of just eight centi-billionaires in the summer of last year following Facebook’s launch of an Instagram feature to compete with TikTok in the US.

According to data from Bloomberg, Zuckerberg is now the fifth wealthiest person on the planet, with a net worth of $113 billion. That’s equivalent to more than 0.5% of the United States’ annual GDP.

Facebook stock is up more than 12% this year, even with Zuckerberg’s sales, amid a bull run for equities.

Analysts also continue to be mostly bullish about the social media giant’s prospects. Facebook boasts 39 “buy” ratings, nine “neutral” ratings, and just two “sell” ratings from analysts.

Deutsche Bank analysts, led by Lloyd Walmsley, tagged Facebook with a “buy” rating and a $385 price target at the end of March, arguing the company is set to benefit from its e-commerce push and an increasing appetite for advertising amid the economic reopening.

The company has also recently moved toward the digital currency space with plans to launch a trial of its new digital currency, Diem, later this year.

Facebook attempted a move into digital currencies before with Libra, but regulators and critics squashed the effort.

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