Facebook announces 72% jump in revenue and the departure of its chief financial officer


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The Independent Online

Facebook said late on Wednesday that continued growth in its mobile advertising business helped its first quarter revenue grow 72 per cent to $2.5 billion, beating analysts’ estimates.

The social networking company also said that David Ebersman will step down as its chief financial officer after almost five years.

Facebook said quarterly revenue from advertising jumped 82 per cent to $2.27 billion, and that mobile advertising revenue made up 59 per cent of that total, up from 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2013.

“Facebook's business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014,” said Mark Zuckerberg, the company's founder and chief executive. Facebook shares rose in after-hours trading. 

Facebook recently agreed to buy mobile messaging service WhatsApp for roughly $19 billion and also virtual reality company Oculus VR for about $2 billion.

“We've made some long term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business,” said Zuckerberg.

Facebook said Ebersman will be succeeded on 1 June by David Wehner, currently Facebook's vice president of corporate finance and business planning, but Ebersman will stay at Facebook though September to ensure a smooth transition.

The social network firm said its number of monthly active users reached 1.28 billion on 31 March and that just over 1 billion of those users got access to Facebook on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

The company said it earned $642 million in net income, or 25 cents a share, up from $219 million, or 9 cents a share in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding certain items, Facebook earned 34 cents a share in the first quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of 24 cents.

Nonetheless, the pending departure of Ebersman surprised some investors.

“Any time you see a CFO, a fairly major person in terms of a company and obviously one that's only been public a couple of years now, change up and now have a necessarily designated successor already in place, it does raise questions as to what's actually going on with the numbers,” David Garrity, principal at GVA Research, said on CNBC.