Facebook Triples Quarterly Profits

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Facebook shares have jumped after reporting a tripling of first quarter profits from a year earlier to $1.51bn.

Advertising revenues rose to $5.2bn, with more than 80 percent coming from mobile.

Facebook’s focus on live video attracted new advertisers, while sales on existing services also grew.

Mark Zuckerberg also requested that a new class of stock should be issued, so he can donate money from his shares to charity while maintaining control of the firm he founded.

The company said the move would “encourage Mr Zuckerberg to remain in an active leadership role at Facebook”.

The results hugely exceeded Wall Street’s already sky-high expectations, and Facebook shares rose by more than 9 percent in after-hours trading.
Going mobile

Sales for the quarter reached $5.4bn, up from $3.5bn last year.

The increased focus on mobile advertising seems to have paid off, rising to 82 percent of the company’s revenues for the first quarter of 2016, up from 73 percent during the same period last year.

Total monthly active users (MAU) increased 15 percent from a year earlier to 1.65 billion, beating analysts’ expectations.

And each user earned the company more money, an average of $3.32 against $2.50 last year.

With Apple’s iffy results yesterday, and the now-broken-record of Twitter continuing to struggle, it’s Facebook taking the hopes of the tech world on its shoulders, and flourishing.

Wall Street is extremely tough on the world’s biggest social network, a company which suffers from its own success. Even when Facebook warns about an Achilles heel, it seems to overcome it.

Remember when investors were worried about the transition to mobile? Well, it made $5.2bn from advertising in the last quarter – 82 percent of that was from mobile users. Some Achilles heel.

I’d been hoping we’d learn a little about the early sales of the Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset which went on sale towards the end of the quarter.

Sadly Facebook chose not to share specific figures on that.

On a call with investors, Facebook said it intended to continue buying other companies, but only those offering services that could be “ubiquitous”.

Facebook has invested heavily in other firms – in 2012 it paid $1bn for the photo-sharing site Instagram.

But it is hard for investors to judge the success of such deals, as Facebook has not given details of earnings from the firms it has bought.

New shares

The announcement of the new share structure comes four months after Mr Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced they would give away 99 percent of their wealth.

The couple made the announcement after the birth of their daughter Max in December.

In a letter to Max on Facebook the pair said they would give the majority of their fortune to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative where it would be used to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation”.

Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Chan plan to make the donations over the course of their lives. Under Facebook’s current shareholder structure Mr Zuckerberg cannot do that without giving up control of the company he built.

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