Facebook Shrugs Off a $5 Billion Fine: CEO Daily

July 25, 2019, 10:54 AM UTC

Good morning.

It’s Jeremy Kahn here from London, filling in for Alan today.

Resilience is a quality most businesses aspire to. And love Facebook or hate it, you have to agree that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has built a remarkably resilient business.

Yesterday, Facebook announced it was paying a record $5 billion fine to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for violating users’ privacy. And then, just hours later, when it released its earnings, it revealed the existence of another, separate FTC probe into the company for anti-trust violations.

But did investors flee in horror? Not a bit. In fact, the company’s shares climbed more than 3% in after-hours trading, as Fortune‘s Kevin Kelleher writes. The reason for this continued enthusiasm is that, despite repeated reputational and regulatory blows, Facebook’s underlying business keeps powering ahead: the company said its quarterly revenues, $16.9 billion, were up 28% from the prior year. The number of monthly and daily active users was up 8% over the previous quarter. And, discounting two extraordinary charges—one for a portion of the FTC fine and another related to tax deductions on stock options—Facebook’s earnings would have been $1.99 per share, well ahead of analysts’ consensus forecasts.

Another technology firm that showed itself to be surprisingly resilient yesterday was Snap. Earlier this year, many had written off that struggling social media company after a badly bungled re-design of its app, a string of executive departures and increased competition from Facebook’s Instagram.

Yet yesterday, Snap showed it could, well, snap back: it surprised the market by reporting it had added 13 million new users in the past quarter, many of them drawn by Snap’s new A.I.-enhanced photo filters. The company made $388 million in quarterly revenue, well above consensus predictions.

Other news below.

Jeremy Kahn




Hard Times at Nissan

Nissan said Thursday morning that it will cut 12,500 jobs, and 10% of global production capacity, by 2023, as part of an overhaul of the U.S. business in the wake of the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn. It was a bumpy quarter, with net profit falling by $59 million, down 94.5% from last year, and sales fell in Europe, North America and Japan. There are more earnings results to come today, including from Amazon, Alphabet and Starbucks. WSJ

The ECB's Big Day

Thursday brings the European Central Bank's governing council meeting in Frankfurt. The ECB's president, Mario Draghi, famously pledged to do "whatever it takes" to protect the euro, and with Draghi's term coming to an end in October, and mounting signs of drags on global growth, ECB watchers are wondering whether he still has time to loosen monetary policy. The meeting comes ahead of the Federal Reserve's own meeting next week. FT

Tesla Shares Sink 

Tesla's shares dropped more than 10% in after-hour trading late Wednesday after the company announced its second quarter earnings—even though automative revenue rose by 60% year on year. That's because the biggest growth is coming from the Model 3—the newest, most affordable model Tesla offers, with thinner margins than its higher priced Model S and Model X. Fortune

Boeing's Earnings Sink

Boeing has taken an unsurprising hit to its earnings over the 737 Max in the second quarter: a $3.4 billion loss, to be precise. But there are other things you need to know, too, from the (vague) timeline for bringing the 737 Max back into skies, to Boeing's cash flow problem, to why analysts think the planemaker can weather the storm. Fortune


Xiaomi Celebrates Making the Fortune Global 500

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi made its debut on Fortune's Global 500 list this year at number 468. Xiaomi is the youngest Chinese company on the list, at just nine years old, and company founder and CEO Lei Jun was so happy at the news, Eamon Barrett reports, that he gave out $24 million worth of shares to the company's employees. Fortune

Etsy's E-Commerce Comeback 

Etsy is known for its small, quirky retailers selling everything from crocheted cushions to clothes for dogs, and it got its start with an anti 'big corporate conglomerate' feel. Now, it's experiencing a financial turnaround by focusing on the nuts and bolts of shipping, ordering, and searching online, all of which add up to the smooth shopping experience of... a big corporate conglomerate. Fortune

Could WeChat Sink Tencent's Stock? 

The inaugural "Valuation" column from Adamn Seessel for Fortune lays out a value-investors' take on Tencent. No. 237 on this year’s Global 500, the company is a conglomerate with a $425 billion market capitalization, and he describes it as a Chinese mashup of Facebook, PayPayl, WhatsApp and Spotify. But he argues that cracks have begun to appear in the "walled garden" of Tencent's WeChat system. Fortune

What's Meat?

Meat lobbyists and vegan meat-makers are engaged in a battle: for what gets to actually be called meat. In 24 states, beef and farming industry groups have worked to prevent "meat" from being used to describe products that are made of non-animal products, while the alternative-meat makers are firing back, with one warning there's no need for "linguistic gymnastics" when faced with words like "burger." (A similar battle, as it happens, is occurring with rice.) New York Times

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Katherine Dunn and Jeremy Kahn. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.

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