Meta is paying first-ever dividend, authorizes $50 billion buyback

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Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the Meta Connect event at Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Sept. 27, 2023.

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Meta announced on Thursday that it will pay a quarterly dividend for the first time, and said it authorized an expanded $50 billion share buyback program.

The company will pay a per share dividend of 50 cents, joining peers Apple, Microsoft and Oracle, which all have regular payouts. The board intends to issue a cash dividend on a quarterly basis, “subject to market conditions.”

Meta announced the news alongside its fourth-quarter financials, which topped estimates on the top and bottom lines.

“Introducing a dividend just gives us a more balanced capital return program and some added flexibility in how we return capital in the future,” Chief Financial Officer Susan Li told analysts on the company’s earnings call.

Shares rose more than 14% in extended trading. The dividend will be paid in March to all shareholders of record as of Feb. 22.

The after-market rally continues a boom in Meta’s stock after the company’s market cap almost tripled in 2023. The stock eclipsed its 2021 record last month.

With a current market capitalization of $1 trillion, the expanded authorization is equal to about 5% of shares outstanding. The company had $30.9 billion available for share repurchases as of December.

Neither Amazon nor Alphabet have ever paid a dividend. Microsoft issued its first dividend in 2003, while Oracle’s was initiated in 2009.

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