Zuckerberg and Intel are delivery the proceeds from their layoffs straight to Wall Street

For years, Wall Street groused about Silicon Valley’s refusal to pay dividends and purchase again inventory as tech corporations grew into cash-generating machines.

That is not an issue, despite the fact that these tech corporations are producing fewer earnings than they have been in earlier years. In reality, some tech corporations are mainly paying off Wall Street whilst they minimize the employees that made them multibillion-dollar tech giants within the first place.

Meta Platforms Inc.
was the most recent to vow that payroll cuts will movement again to traders, asserting a contemporary $40 billion stock-repurchase authorization regardless of having greater than $10 billion remaining in its buyback coffers. The information overshadowed an earnings miss and Meta’s third consecutive quarter of declining gross sales and revenue, and the consequences have been onerous to overlook —- shares spiked almost 20% in after-hours buying and selling, a transfer that might add roughly $80 billion again to the market capitalization of Facebook’s dad or mum firm.

Meta’s huge stock-buying assure provides to Intel Corp.
executives’ resolution to keep up a dividend that paid out $6 billion to traders final yr, regardless of the chip maker’s free money movement falling to destructive in 2022 and expectations that it is going to be within the crimson once more for the primary quarter. While shedding employees, slicing pay and shelving some plans to develop its fabrication enterprise with a purpose to take away $3 billion in prices, Intel is anticipated to pay roughly $1.5 billion in dividends within the first quarter.

For extra: Intel inventory’s dividend stands out amongst chip makers

The disconnect between the cash spent to assuage Wall Street and the cash saved by slashing payroll is much more disparate for Facebook. The firm stated its restructuring efforts price $4.2 billion within the fourth quarter, together with actual property consolidation, severance and writing down of information middle belongings — barely 10% of the contemporary stock-repurchase authorization.

Meta nonetheless expects an extra $1 billion in restructuring prices in 2023, after shedding greater than 11,000 staff, or about 13% of its international workforce. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg took the blame for the cuts after they have been introduced, as a macroeconomic downturn accelerated and made Meta’s huge development seem like profligate spending.

More from Therese: Intel simply had its worst yr because the dot-com bust, and it gained’t get higher anytime quickly

Zuckerberg on Wednesday seemed like he was really joyful concerning the cuts, although. He stated that whereas the layoffs have been tough, he discovered that Meta was working higher already and the corporate can be extra targeted on profitability, and the corporate can not “treat everything like it’s hyper-growth.”

“For the first 18 years, I think we grew it 20%, 30% compound or a lot more every year, right?” Zuckerberg advised analysts on the corporate’s name. “And then obviously that changed very dramatically in 2022 where our revenue was negative for the growth for the first time in the company’s history.”

But he stated that as Meta began doing the work of cost-cutting, he admitted “I actually think it makes us better.”

Meta thus is an instance of the great and unhealthy affect of Wall Street on an organization. Clearly, some tech giants turned too bloated in dimension throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to proceed to function on the similar revenue ranges in an financial downturn. The firm really listened to traders who advocated for some prices to be minimize, even when that hasn’t dampened Zuckerberg’s imaginative and prescient for the metaverse but.

Read additionally: Facebook and Google grew into titans by ignoring Wall Street

Those cuts must be felt by all concerned, although, not simply staff. When an organization is shrinking — Intel’s earnings declined by greater than 60% final yr, whereas Meta’s fell by greater than 40% — all concerned ought to really feel the ache, as an alternative of pushing that ache on employees whereas rewarding traders. Yet King Zuckerberg now will see the worth of his particular founder shares spike, whereas the employees he laid off scramble for a brand new job to allow them to pay their mortgage.