Who Owns Meta: The Largest Shareholders Overview

Article Teaser: Who Owns Meta: The Largest Shareholders Overview

META Platforms Inc. (META) was known as Facebook, Inc. (FB) until 2021. Meta operates Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp social media apps. It has started significantly investing in virtual and augmented reality. However, the main business of Meta is still social media, and the main revenue and profit source is advertising. So, who are its largest shareholders, and who controls the voting power?

The largest shareholder of Meta Platforms, Inc. is Mark Zuckerberg, with a 13% ownership share, followed by asset managers Vanguard (7%), BlackRock (6%), and Fidelity (5%). However, thanks to “super-voting” shares, Mark holds 57% of all votes and has control over Meta.

 Meta's Largest Shareholders (Dec 2021)
Shareholder Ownership Voting Power
Mark Zuckerberg 12.8% 56.7%
Vanguard 6.6% 2.8%
BlackRock 5.8% 2.4%
Fidelity 4.7% 2.0%
Eduardo Saverin 2.0% 7.2%
Dustin Moskovitz 0.6% 0.0%
Other 67.6% 28.8%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

Meta largest shareholders by share ownership and vote control (donut chart) Meta largest shareholders by share ownership and vote control (donut chart)

As you can see from the table and visuals above, the founder and CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, is clearly in control. He holds the majority of votes without owning the majority of shares.

Another notable shareholder is Eduardo Saverin, who, like Mark, holds super-voting shares that give him outsized voting power over other shareholders.

In this article, I will dive more into who Meta’s largest shareholders are, how many shares and votes they have, and how much their stake is worth. I will also explore some other topics related to its ownership structure.

If you are interested, you can also check my article about how Meta(Facebook) makes money and how its business model works.

Or you can explore who are the largest shareholders in other technology companies like Apple, Alphabet(Google), Amazon, or Microsoft.

🕹️ Who Owns Meta (META) and Who Has Control?

Voting control that Mark Zuckerberg has over the company is based on special Class B shares that he and other Facebook co-founders hold.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

You can see above that founder Mark Zuckerberg is clearly in control of Meta. He has a majority of votes without owning the majority of shares.

While standard A-class shares traded under the META ticker have one vote per share, B-class shares that Meta (Facebook) early investors and founders hold have ten votes per share.

B-class shares are not publicly traded and are the reason behind Mark’s voting power of 57%. This fact makes the voting power of all other shareholders irrelevant.

Mark’s voting power is slightly higher than you would expect based on the number of his shares and associated votes because he has an agreement with Dusting Moskovitz that Mark will exercise voting power for Dustin’s shares.

There is also a provision that gives the majority of B-class shareholders (which means Mark Zuckerberg currently) the power to approve any potential merger or outside acquisiton, even if Mark is no longer a majority shareholder of Meta. This provision will be valid until Class B votes fall below 35% of total votes, which has a long way to go because Class B shares now constitute over 60% of the total voting power.

A different provision secures Mark’s seat on Meta’s board for three years after Class B shareholders lose the voting majority.

To summarize the difference between different share classes, Alphabet is currently having two classes of shares:

  • Class A: “normal” shares with 1 vote per share. Publicly traded with ticker META
  • Class B: “super-voting” shares with 10 votes per share, not traded publicly and owned mainly by founders and early investors

🗳️ Breakdown of Meta’s Outstanding Shares and Votes by Top Shareholders

Meta Platforms, Inc. had a total of 2,741 million outstanding shares as of December 2021. The following table shows how many shares each Meta’s large shareholder holds.

 Meta's Outstanding Shares by Shareholder
In millions of shares as of December 2021
Shareholder Class A Class B Total % Share
Mark Zuckerberg 1 350 351 12.8%
Vanguard 182 - 182 6.6%
BlackRock 158 - 158 5.8%
Fidelity 128 - 128 4.7%
Eduardo Saverin 8 46 53 2.0%
Dustin Moskovitz - 16 16 0.6%
Other 1,851 1 1,852 67.6%
Total (# millions) 2,328 413 2,741 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

There were 6,457 million votes distributed among shareholders of Meta Platforms, Inc.. The table below shows the total number of votes for each large shareholder.

 Meta's Vote Control by Shareholder
In millions of votes as of December 2021
Shareholder Class A Class B Proxy Total % Share
Mark Zuckerberg 1 3,497 163 3,661 56.7%
Eduardo Saverin 8 459 - 467 7.2%
Vanguard 182 - - 182 2.8%
BlackRock 158 - - 158 2.4%
Fidelity 128 - - 128 2.0%
Dustin Moskovitz - 163 -163 - 0.0%
Other 1,851 9 - 1,860 28.8%
Total (# millions) 2,328 4,129 - 6,457 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

Owning class B shares is the key to Mark Zuckerberg’s control of Meta. His 10x voting power allows him to control the company single-handedly.

💵 Breakdown of Meta’s Market Value by Shareholder

The following table summarizes how much is each shareholder’s stake in Meta Platforms, Inc. worth.

However, keep in mind that a stake in Meta could be just one part of their portfolio, and their total worth could be bigger, thanks to other investments. It could also be lower if they have debts.

 Meta's Market Value by Shareholder
Market value in billions $ as of December 2021
Shareholder Class A Class B Total % Share
Mark Zuckerberg $0 $118 $118 12.8%
Vanguard $61 - $61 6.6%
BlackRock $53 - $53 5.8%
Fidelity $43 - $43 4.7%
Eduardo Saverin $3 $15 $18 2.0%
Dustin Moskovitz - $5 $5 0.6%
Other $623 $0 $623 67.6%
Total ($ billions) $783 $139 $922 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

Let’s now look at each Meta shareholder individually.

📒 Who Are the Largest Shareholders of Meta Platforms, Inc.

Let’s now go through the list of the largest shareholders of Meta Platforms, Inc. one by one and look at who they are, how many shares they own, what is their voting power, and how much is their stake in Meta worth.

#1 Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg holds 13% of Meta’s shares, making him its largest shareholder. However, thanks to super-voting shares that Mark Zuckerberg owns, his share of total votes is 57%.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Mark Zuckerberg owns 351 million Meta shares, representing 3,661 million shareholder votes. The market value of Mark Zuckerberg’s stake in Meta was $118 billion as of December 2021.

Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook. Besides being the controlling shareholder, he serves as CEO and chairman of Meta’s Board of Directors.

Mark founded Facebook in 2004 with his roommates at Harward. Those roommates and Facebook co-founders were Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes.

Mark Zuckerberg is controversial figure thanks to various past scandals where Facebook, under Mark’s leadership, showed total disregard for people’s privacy and data security.

  • It all culminated in the famous Cambridge Analytica scandal and the subsequent $5bn penalty from Federal Trade Commission in 2019.

Mark and his wife Priscilla committed to donating most of their wealth to philanthropy.

#2 Vanguard

Vanguard holds 7% of Meta’s shares which makes it its second-largest shareholder. However, its voting power is only 3% since some of the other shareholders hold super-voting shares that dilute Vanguard’s control of Meta.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Vanguard owns 182 million Meta shares, representing 182 million shareholder votes. The market value of Vanguard’s stake in Meta was $61 billion as of December 2021.

Vanguard (The Vanguard Group) is one of the largest asset managers in the world. It manages other people’s money through its mutual funds and exchange-traded funds and also offers other related investing and financial planning services.

Vanguard differs from other large asset managers by having no actual “owner .” Officially Vanguard says that its investors own it since its funds own it, and Vanguard fund investors own those funds.

However, the actual decision power is in the hands of Vanguard’s insiders since the ownership is diluted over millions of investors worldwide.

Vanguard has significant influence over the largest public companies. Thanks to its size, Vanguard usually belongs to the largest shareholders in those companies and has considerable power at their shareholder meetings. This is especially true if ownership is diluted.

Vanguard representatives make the calls about which shareholder proposal to support or not, even though Vanguard is not the ultimate owner of those stocks and they belong to their clients.

It means that just a few people in charge of the largest asset managers have significant sway over many publicly traded companies. They are usually the median investors that can push or kill many proposals. As passive investing became more popular and the asset management market more concentrated, this became quite a concerning issue.

  • Several terms were coined to describe this issue. Some call it asset manager capitalism, and popular is also the power of twelve. Financial Times even put together who exactly those twelve people might be.

  • Vanguard and other large fund managers are trying to address those concerns by having public policies describing how they are exercising their voting power. But as you can imagine, this is still a situation full of conflicts of interest.
  • Evidence shows that big asset managers usually vote together with management.

#3 BlackRock

BlackRock holds 6% of Meta’s shares which makes it its third-largest shareholder. However, its voting power is only 2% since some of the other shareholders hold super-voting shares that dilute BlackRock’s control of Meta.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

BlackRock owns 158 million Meta shares, representing 158 million shareholder votes. The market value of BlackRock’s stake in Meta was $53 billion as of December 2021.

BlackRock, Inc. is the world’s largest asset manager, with assets under management of $10 trillion. BlackRock is not only an asset manager, but it also provides other asset managers and corporations with its Aladdin portfolio management software.

BlackRock is a publicly traded company, and its largest shareholders are its competitors, including BlackRock itself. Not directly but through their passive and active funds. The largest shareholder is Vanguard.

A similar situation is also true in the opposite direction because BlackRock is a significant shareholder in many of its publicly traded competitors and other large institutions, making the whole thing even more eyebrow-raising.

This circular ownership between Vanguard, BlackRock, and other large asset managers, amplifies the issue often raised about the power of these large asset managers over public companies since they usually belong to the most significant shareholders.

  • BlackRock and other large asset managers do not invest their own money, but they have significant voting power that, in most cases, is not passed through to the underlying investors. Therefore, BlackRock itself and its representatives have significant sway over decisions in those companies.

  • In the case of Blackrock, this influence is personified in the form of its CEO Larry Fink, who is a powerful figure with close ties in the FED and US government.

  • Adding to these concerns is evidence that BlackRock and other asset managers usually vote in favor of management proposals.

  • Recently, large asset managers started to be more sympathetic to different climate and environmental-related proposals and even supported activists that went against the management’s wishes. BlackRock was particularly aggressive in this change. Another proof of the power these companies have.

#4 Fidelity

Fidelity holds 5% of Meta’s shares. However, its voting power is only 2% since some of the other shareholders hold super-voting shares that dilute Fidelity’s control of Meta.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Fidelity owns 128 million Meta shares, representing 128 million shareholder votes. The market value of Fidelity’s stake in Meta was $43 billion as of December 2021.

Fidelity (FMR LLC) is one of the four largest asset managers in the world, together with BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street. Fidelity is controlled by the Jonhson family, holding 49% of the voting power.

Fidelity is currently managed by Abigail Johnson after her father, Edward Johnson III, died in 2022.

An interesting fact is that in 2004 Abigail pulled a pretty bold move on her further when she tried to oust him from the company. The attempt was unsuccessful then, but she holds the reins now.

Like other large asset managers, Fidelity is not free from potential conflicts of interest.

#5 Eduardo Saverin

Eduardo Saverin holds 2% of Meta’s shares. However, thanks to super-voting shares that Eduardo Saverin owns, his share of total votes is 7%.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Eduardo Saverin owns 53 million Meta shares, representing 467 million shareholder votes. The market value of Eduardo Saverin’s stake in Meta was $18 billion as of December 2021.

Eduardo Saverin is a Brazilian-born co-founder of Facebook and served early on as the company’s chief financial officer. He is now an investor based in Singapore.

Mark Zuckerberg famously tried to dilute Eduardo’s share in Facebook, resulting in lawsuits filed by both sides. But in the end, lawsuits were settled, and Eduardo became a rich man.

Eduardo, a Singapore resident, renounced his US citizenship in 2011, which got media attention as it allowed him to avoid capital gains tax. Eduardo obviously denied that taxes were his primary motivation.

#6 Dustin Moskovitz

Dustin Moskovitz holds 1% of Meta’s shares. However, he has no voting power because he aggreed that Mark Zuckerberg will execute his voting rights.

Meta largest shareholders share ownership vs vote control chart

Dustin Moskovitz owns 16 million Meta shares, representing 0 million shareholder votes. The market value of Dustin Moskovitz’s stake in Meta was $5 billion as of December 2021.

Dustin Moskovitz is one of the co-founders of Facebook, where he was the company’s first chief technology officer and later vice president of engineering.

He left Facebook in 2018 and co-founded Asana, a project and task management tool, and now serves as Asana’s CEO.

💸 Can Mark Zuckerberg and Other Co-founders Sell Their Meta’s Super-voting Shares to Somebody Else?

Mark Zuckerberg and other holders of Class B shares can sell them, and they are already doing that. However, if they do, those sold or transferred stocks will lose their super-voting power, and Class B shares will automatically convert to ordinary Class A shares with one vote per share.

The above is not true if they transfer or sell those Class B shares to family members (spouse, parents, descendants, siblings, and their descendants)

⚰️ What If Mark Zuckerberg Dies? Who Will Be in Control of Meta (Facebook)?

If Mark Zuckerberg dies, his shares will keep their super-voting power, but only if Mark’s family members will inherit them.

Transfer of those stocks outside Mark’s family members means that those stocks would automatically convert to ordinary Class A shares with one vote per share.

It means that Mark Zuckerberg’s family can keep controlling Meta Platforms, Inc. even after Mark’s death.

However, Mark and his wife Priscilla signed the Giving Pledge to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropy during their lifetime or in their will, which would mean that Mark’s B-class shares would be sold and converted to ordinary shares.

📎 Does Microsoft Own Meta (Facebook)?

It is possible that Microsoft still holds some Facebook shares, but it is just a fraction of its original 1.6% stake that Microsoft purchased in 2007.

Microsoft, under CEO Steve Ballmer, invested $240 million in Facebook Inc in 2007 and received a 1.6% stake in it. This investment was connected with an agreement that Microsoft would sell advertisements on international versions of the Facebook service until 2011.

Microsoft partially decreased its stake during Facebook’s IPO in 2012. Microsoft mentioned it in its annual report: “…partial sale of our Facebook holding upon the initial public offering on May 18, 2012”.

Microsoft later significantly reduced its Facebook position or possibly even completely sold it off. Microsoft did not make any disclosures about its Facebook stake. However, it is evident from its disclosure about total equity investments in its financials that if it still holds some Meta (Facebook) shares, it would have to be just a fraction of its original stake.

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Other Resources

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