Facebook’s market value exceeded that of General Electric on Thursday. This is a remarkable achievement since GE dates back to the days of Thomas Alva Edison and the first light bulb, while Facebook was founded in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard 11 years ago. Facebook now has also entered the coveted $300 billion club.
Facebook enters $300 billion club
There are only two industrial blue chips with a market capitalization exceeding $300 billion. They are Exxon Mobil and Berkshire Hathaway. The top three companies with the largest market values are Apple, Google and Microsoft. The oil giant and Warren Buffett’s conglomerate are at the fourth and fifth spots respectively.
Amazon, the online retailer, also made its presence in the mega-cap club after its value topped $300 billion earlier this week. Facebook’s shares rose 5% to $108.76 per share, giving the social network a market value of $306 billion. GE’s market value was around $299.6 billion.
Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Cisco started the technological revolution several years ago, and now Facebook and other tech firms are carrying it further. Facebook went public in 2012. GE was formed with the merger of Edison General Electric with Thomson-Houston Company in 1892.
Which has a brighter outlook?
On Wednesday, Facebook reported its third quarter results with earnings of $896 million on revenue of $4.5 billion. Both numbers were well above Wall Street expectations. GE reported its third quarter earnings around three weeks ago with earnings of $2.51 billion on revenue of $41.68 billion.
Though there is a stark contrast in the revenues of the two companies, investors are confident that Facebook will be more profitable than GE in the long run as it connects people around the world, and therefore can monetize those connections through advertising.
Year to date, Facebook shares are up 42%, while GE shares have risen by 17%. Facebook shares are expected to gain 12% over the next 12 months, while Wall Street expects GE to gain 5% over the next year.
“Although Facebook costs increased this year, they have much more capital flexibility in capital allocation than GE, a less cyclical business, and tailwinds in terms of increasing web usage at the very root of their business model versus economic headwinds,” Short Hills Capital Partners’ Stephen Weiss told CNBC.