Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB), is still the same company we’ve all known for years in some respects. For example, Mark Zuckerberg is still the CEO and the company still trades on Wall Street as FB stock (although the ticker may change in early 2022).
Also, the Facebook social media site that everybody loves to hate is still here. Yet, it seems as if Zuckerberg wants everyone to forget Facebook’s checkered past and focus entirely on the company’s new business model.
Of course, people won’t accept the transition immediately. There will be growing pains. Building out into the metaverse will be costly and time-consuming for Meta Platforms.
So, only time will tell whether all the proposed and current changes work out in Meta’s favor. In the meantime, though, we can discover what’s new and what’s not while trying to value this social-media-giant-turned-metaverse-upstart in flux.
A Closer Look at FB Stock
Meta may have a reputation among some value investors as a momentum or “momo” type of trade. Granted, FB stock’s growth has been nothing short of astonishing. Today, it’s hard to believe that shares had only cost around $20 apiece in 2012.
Moreover, the stock had a powerful run from May of this year. It even reached a 52-week high of $384.33 at one point in September.
However, a recent pullback seems to have brought FB back down to Earth (although that might be a slight exaggeration). Let’s just say that, by mid-December, the share price has fallen to around $336 per share.
So, about that “momo” reputation. Value investors might be surprised to learn that Meta’s trailing 12-month price-earnings (P/E) ratio is just 24.4, according to Seeking Alpha.
Hence, after the share-price drawdown, there might actually be a bargain here with FB stock. Imagine that!
Opening Up a Virtual World
In case you didn’t get the memo, Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone to know that his company is all about the metaverse now. Part of that metaverse is virtual reality, also known variously as VR, augmented reality or AR. (Technically, VR and AR are different, but that’s a topic for another time).
I’m starting to get the impression that Zuckerberg wants to get everyone addicted to VR, just like he did with the Pavlovian social-media experiment known as Facebook. Thus, he’s offering the first dose for free.
Specifically, Meta’s social VR experience — Horizon Worlds — is now free to use for everyone 18 years of age or older in the U.S. and Canada. Along with that, Meta is also debuting Arena Clash, a team-oriented laser tag game inside Horizon Worlds.
A Portal to Profits?
So, if you’re planning to hang onto FB stock, you’d better hope that the whole social VR thing catches on. Otherwise, it will be challenging for Meta to generate mega-revenues from this new business model.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg and company are pushing us all further down the rabbit hole with Meta Portal, a supposedly “unique way to capture and share new memories and stay connected with those who matter most all year long.”
Apparently, we’re supposed to stay up to date with our Facebook friends (does anyone under the age of 30 even use Facebook anymore?) by commanding the device with “Hey Portal, show me Stories.”
From what I can tell, Portal is kind of like Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Alexa combined with a camera. It’s also mildly reminiscent of a tablet. Yet, the Meta Portal can’t commit fully to any of these product categories.
Perhaps Zuckerberg is trying to sucker the consumer into accepting a whole new product prototype. Again, like Horizon Worlds, it’s one heck of a gamble.
The Bottom Line on Meta Platforms
So, there you have it: a quick glimpse into Meta’s new consumer experiences, which likely won’t be to everyone’s taste.
If I were a longtime FB stock investor, I’d be wary and weary. This surely isn’t what shareholders expected.
Obviously, though, Zuckerberg couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of his company’s new name and direction. Therefore, it’s your decision as to whether to follow him into this VR-enhanced business venture.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
David Moadel has provided compelling content – and crossed the occasional line – on behalf of Crush the Street, Market Realist, TalkMarkets, Finom Group, Benzinga, and (of course) InvestorPlace.com. He also serves as the chief analyst and market researcher for Portfolio Wealth Global and hosts the popular financial YouTube channel Looking at the Markets.