Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth Up $3.7 Billion As Facebook Shares Soar Following Earnings

On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off his company’s second quarter earnings call by explaining the social network’s opportunity for “big changes… in the world.” While the extent to which Facebook can alter global connections is up for debate, there is no doubt that the company’s stock performance is changing Zuckerberg’s fortune–for the better.

On Thursday, Facebook’s shares closed at a one-year high of $34.36, following a strong earnings report in which the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm handily beat analysts’ estimates. Shares were up about 29.6%, sending the Facebook chief’s net worth up nearly $3.7 billion in one day. FORBES estimates that as of Thursday, Zuckerberg is worth approximately $16.1 billion. In March, he was worth $13.3 billion on the World’s Billionaire List.

“We had a lot of progress in the last three months on growing our community engagement, releasing a successful major product and generating strong financial results,” Zuckerberg said yesterday.

Those strong financial results included earnings per share of 19 cents on revenue of $1.81 billion, countering analysts’ expectations of earnings per share of 14 cents on revenue of $1.62 billion. Those numbers sent Facebook shares shooting up more than 15% in after-hours trading on Wednesday, a trend that continued when stock markets opened on Thursday.

That’s likely a welcome sight for the 29-year-old Zuckerberg, whose company has had a tumultuous time on the markets in its first year as a public company. After debuting on the Nasdaq in May 2012, Facebook’s shares fell well below the $38 initial offering price, hitting an all-time low of $17.73 in September 2012. Thursday marks the first time since January that the stock has closed above $30.

For Zuckerberg, Facebook’s largest shareholder with more than 425 million shares, the social networking company’s gain is a major boost for his bank account. His net worth is at its highest ever since the week of his company’s IPO. Zuckerberg’s fortune peaked on the March 2012 World’s Billionaires List, when FORBES estimated that he was worth $17.5 billion, based on valuations of the then-private Facebook.

A Facebook spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Fellow Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz also benefitted from the soaring share price on Thursday. Born a few days after Zuckerberg, the world’s youngest billionaire saw his net worth rise nearly $1 billion to about $4.5 billion.

Follow me on Twitter at @Nyk041

Advertisements

County Leaders to Face Jail

Kenyans are hopeful that the Constitutional Offices that were set up to audit the use of funds for the County Governments will not let them down. The shenanigans that are already evident in the budget making process are raising many eyebrows.

For example, although the Chairman of the County Assemblies Speakers’ Committee, Dr Nur Nassir Abdi assured Kenyans over the weekend that over 90 per cent of the counties across the country have passed their budgets on time, this merely begs the question about their quality, considering that many were hurriedly passed on Saturday and Sunday to meet the June 30 deadline.

 
 
 
0
Share

 

While it is true that a governor who is unable to meet the deadline has the option of passing a “vote on account”, which allows the county to draw up to 50 per cent of its total budget from the Controller of the Budget, there are well grounded fears that this could be used to get the money and spend it on projects and programmes not approved by the County Assembly.

Fears of possible misuse of public funds have been heightened by instances where the governor refuses to sign a budget merely because the county assembly has rejected some of his personal projects , as happened in Kiambu County over the week-end.

Governor William Kabogo is reported to have refused to sign off the budget estimates because he was angry that Members of the County Assembly (MCA) had the ‘temerity’ to cut by half the Sh1.4 billion he wanted allocated to his and his deputy’s office. Ostensibly, this money was to be given to the youth and women.

In their defence, the MCAs said they were unhappy with the allocation because there was no criteria on how the money would be given out, fearing that it would be dished out to the governor’s political supporters.

It is also doubtful whether there was any meaningful public participation in the counties’ budget-making across the country in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act 2012.

Public participation would have forced governors to avoid allocations of massive sums to, for example,  renovating their houses and buying four-wheel-drive fuel guzzlers that cost as much to run as to buy.

Given the cavalier approach by county governments to this crucial exercise, few Kenyans would be surprised if some are jailed in the future. 

At least the Auditor-General has sent out teams to go over the assets of former local authorities to see whether any funds were used against the law after they were dissolved.

Obama unveils a $7Billion African Electrification developmental Program.

OHANNESBURG, June 30 (Reuters) – Pointing to Africa’s crippling lack of electrical power, President Barack Obama is due to announce on Sunday a $7 billion initiative over five years to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We see this as the next phase in our development strategy and a real focal point in the president’s agenda going forward,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with the president.

Obama is midway through a three-country tour of Africa and is due to give what aides bill as his fullest description of his vision for the U.S. relationship with the continent on Sunday.

The president has chosen historically resonant locations for the address, and is due to speak at the University of Cape Town after touring the prison on Robben Island. Robert F. Kennedy’s 1966 speech at the university linked the struggles against apartheid and the U.S. civil rights movement and was seen as giving encouragement to the movement, while Robben Island is where anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years in jail.

The president will cite South Africa’s long struggle to defeat apartheid and the U.S. civil rights movement’s success in overcoming racial inequality as models of movements that brought about change in the face of daunting obstacles, aides said. He will call on young Africans to summon similar energy to complete the work of those movements and to firmly establish economic growth, democratic government, and stable societies across the continent.

SIGNATURE PROGRAM

Obama has been faulted for lacking a grand program to benefit Africa like the HIV/AIDS initiative launched by President George W. Bush or the broad reductions of trade barriers achieved by President Bill Clinton.

Many Africans have been disappointed at what they see as Obama’s hands-off approach to the continent, noting that his first extended trip the continent has not come until his second term in office despite his African ancestry. Obama’s father was a native of Kenya.

The president’s aides say he has been held back by the need to wind down two wars and to right the U.S. economy after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Despite severe U.S. budget constraints, the power initiative could provide Obama with just such a signature program.

DARKNESS BY NIGHT

Experts agree that the lack of electricity is a tremendous hindrance to Africa’s advancement.

“Africa is largely a continent of darkness by night,” said an official at a multilateral agency who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Every which way you look at this, Africa is behind the curve and pays more.”

Roughly two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa lacks power, a level that rises as high as 85 percent in rural areas, White House aide Gayle Smith said.

Lack of power inhibits business investment, prevents children from studying after dark, and makes it harder to keep vaccines from spoiling in rural areas, she said.

The United States will initially work with Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania to develop electric power generation, officials said. It will also cooperate with Uganda and Mozambique on oil and gas management.

The program will draw on a range of U.S. government agencies to achieve its goals. For example, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp will commit as much as $1.5 billion in finance and insurance to help U.S. companies manage the risks associated with the projects.

Similarly, the U.S. Export-Import Bank will make up to $5 billion available to support U.S. exports to develop power projects, the officials said.

The private sector will also be involved. Officials said General Electric Co has committed to power generation projects in Tanzania and Ghana, officials added.

The president’s trip has taken him to Senegal and South Africa and will wind up in Tanzania on Monday and Tuesday. Although concerns over the ailing health of anti-apartheid hero Mandela have overshadowed much of the trip, the president has sounded the theme of Africa’s economic potential at every stop.

In keeping with that emphasis, Obama will also announce that he plans to hold a summit of sub-Saharan African leaders in Washington next year.

“It’s something other countries have done,” Rhodes said. “What we want to do is continue the kind of high-level engagement we’ve had on this trip.”