Facebook-parent Meta Platforms made its bond market debut on Tuesday by raising $10 billion in its first-ever bond offering. The technology major, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other products and services, intends to use raised capital to revamp its business and fund share buybacks. The proceeds from the bond sale will be also utilised to fund some expensive initiatives, such as its metaverse virtual reality.
With the maiden bond offering, the California-based technology conglomerate joined the league of other tech companies such as Apple Inc and Intel Corp, which recently raised fund through the debt market. Earlier this month, iPhone maker Apple Inc raised $5.5 billion in a four-part bond deal to fund in part stock buybacks and dividends. Intel Corp also tapped the U.S. bond market to raise $6 billion to finance its projects.
The fundraising came at a time when the company’s balance sheet is under stress, recording its first-ever quarterly fall in revenue during the June quarter of 2022. The tech major also issued subdued earnings guidance for the current fiscal in the backdrop of the slowing U.S. economy and competitive pressures, which impacted its digital ads sales.
On Tuesday, Meta shares closed 1% lower at $168.53, in line with the benchmark Nasdaq Composite, which settled 1.2% lower. Meta shares have lost about half their value since the beginning of the year as investors weighed the company’s performance, especially its online advertising business. In Q2, Meta's total number of ad impressions served across services rose 15%, while the average price per ad dropped 14% due to a reduction in advertiser demand in response to the increased economic uncertainty as well as foreign currency headwinds. Adding to the woes, the advertising revenue growth is further expected to remain slow as businesses are cutting their advertising spend in the backdrop of recession fear.
For the April-June quarter of the current fiscal (Q2 FY22), Meta Platforms reported a 1% decline in its revenue to $28.8 billion from $29 billion in the same quarter last year, registering its first revenue drop since its listing. The company also issued a weak forecast for the third quarter, citing a “continuation of the weak advertising demand environment we experienced throughout the second quarter, which we believe is being driven by broader macroeconomic uncertainty.”
The earnings per share also dropped 32% to $2.46 per share, compared to $3.61 apiece in the corresponding period last year. The net income fell to $6.687 billion, down 36% from $10.394 billion in Q2 FY21. Monthly Active Users (MAUs) rose 1% to 2.93 billion, while Average Revenue per User (ARPU) stood at $9.82 during the June quarter of 2022.