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Mark Zuckerberg's Meta has lost nearly $50 billion on the metaverse - more than Ford, Hershey, or Kraft Heinz are worth

Theron Mohamed   

Mark Zuckerberg's Meta has lost nearly $50 billion on the metaverse - more than Ford, Hershey, or Kraft Heinz are worth
  • Mark Zuckerberg's Meta has recorded nearly $50 billion of metaverse losses in under five years.
  • The division's total loss of $47 billion exceeds the market value of Ford, Hershey, or Kraft Heinz.

Mark Zuckerberg's Meta has racked up nearly $50 billion in total metaverse losses, a sum that dwarfs the market values of many well-known companies and the fortunes of some of the world's wealthiest people.

The Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp owner has lost a cumulative $47 billion in its Reality Labs division since the start of 2019, an Insider analysis of regulatory filings found. The segment's operating loss has ballooned from below $5 billion in 2019 to over $10 billion in 2021, nearly $14 billion in 2022, and north of $11 billion in the first nine months of this year.

Zuckerberg and his team fully anticipate that trend will continue. "We expect our RL operating losses to increase meaningfully in 2024," they noted in Meta's third-quarter earnings. "Many of our RL investments are directed toward long-term, cutting-edge research and development for products for the metaverse that may only be fully realized in the next decade."

Meta's metaverse losses to date exceed the market capitalization of Ford ($45 billion), Keurig Dr. Pepper ($41 billion), Hershey ($39 billion), Kraft Heinz ($39 billion), and many other large companies. They could soon overtake Lululemon ($49 billion), Chipotle ($50 billion), Target ($51 billion), and Monster Beverage ($52 billion) in size.

If Meta's $47 billion figure was an individual's net worth, they would rank in the top 25 spots on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, ahead of Nike cofounder Phil Knight and his family ($39 billion), Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang ($36 billion), and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin ($35 billion). They would also be worth nearly half as much as Zuckerberg ($105 billion).

It's worth underscoring that the metaverse business is still a small part of Meta as a whole. Zuckerberg's company raked in $94 billion of revenue and $42 billion of operating profit from its main "Family of Apps" division in the nine months to September, compared to less than $1 billion of revenue and a $11.5 billion loss in the RL business. As a result, Meta still generated over $30 billion in total operating income in the period.

Zuckerberg has championed virtual reality, augmented reality, and other metaverse-related technologies for years. When his company first acquired VR pioneer Oculus in 2014, his vision was that anyone in the world could feel like they're sitting courtside at a NBA game, stageside at a Taylor Swift concert, or in a front-row seat during a Harvard lecture.

It's unclear whether Zuckerberg's big bet on the metaverse will ultimately pay off, but Meta's losses in the space are certainly striking and look set to keep growing for years to come.


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