Josh Brown buys Facebook parent Meta shares, betting on a turnaround
Ritholtz Wealth Management CEO Josh Brown is taking advantage of Meta’s stock plunge. He bought shares before the open Thursday, although it is not a substantial position, he said on CNBC’s ” Halftime Report .” Meta tumbled more than 20% Thursday, continuing the freefall that began after the social media company posted an earnings miss and issued a weak forecast after the bell Wednesday. Over the past year, the Facebook parent company has seen a huge loss in market cap, which is now at around $270 billion. More than a year ago, it was at $1 trillion . Brown’s move isn’t necessarily an endorsement of the company or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg . Instead, he’s betting on a potential turnaround once the company realizes it has to make some changes. “I can come in today and make the bet that this guy doesn’t want to burn his own house down,” Brown said. He likened the moment to the one surrounding Netflix ‘s recent decision to offer an ad-supported service . That was an idea Wall Street wanted but the company initially dismissed, Brown said. Since Netflix’s “Basic with ads” tier was announced, the stock has gained about 30%. “The only reason that’s possible is because there was an about-face. Management started to listen to outside voices,” Brown said. “That is possible with Meta. Most of Meta’s wounds are self-inflicted.” While there is no way around a slowdown in global advertising, it’s not the only problem weighing down the company, he said. “The issues with Meta — the spending, the lack of focus, the lack of clarity — all of that stuff I think is fixable,” Brown said. Earlier this week, Meta investor Brad Gerstner, Altimeter Capital chair and CEO, wrote an open letter to Zuckerberg and the board, saying the company needs to slash headcount and stop spending so much on metaverse technology. After Meta’s earnings release, Gerstner told CNBC’s Scott Wapner, that “the key metrics of the core business were pretty good.” “If [Zuckerberg] kept spending basically flat, which was expected — the stock is up 10%. If he cut a little more and showed any nod to trade-offs/discipline, the stock is up 20%. Instead, he chose little regard for shareholders and went all in with unconstrained spending into the face of an uncertain economy,” he said. “These decisions materially hurt his own chances of success.” Brown added that he’s not going to spend a lot of mental capital on the Meta trade and if time goes on without the company addressing its issues, he’ll move on.