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