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

Meta is paying first-ever dividend, authorizes  billion buyback

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

The Facebook owner will pay a 50 cent-per-share dividend, joining peers Apple, Microsoft and Oracle, all of which pay regular dividends. The board intends to issue a cash dividend on a quarterly basis, “subject to market conditions.”

Meta announced the news simultaneously with its fourth-quarter earnings, where the company reported a strong beat on the top and bottom lines.

Shares rose more than 12% on the earnings report and the news of the buyback and dividend.

The dividend will be paid in March to all shareholders of record as of February 22.

The expanded share buyback authorization comes just two weeks after Meta shares eclipsed their 2021 high, breaking through $378. The company had $30.9 billion available for share repurchases as of December 2023.

With a current market capitalization of $1 trillion, the expanded authorization is around 5% of shares oustanding.

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