Meta logo on screen and Mark Zuckerberg is a Chief Executive Officer of Metaverse in background

Is Meta raising money for AI development?

With the relentless wave of news about artificial intelligence (AI) tools lately, one name has been missing from the list of companies that have released a chatbot or other headline-making application in the last few months: Meta (NASDAQ: META).

While CEO Mark Zuckerberg was chasing the Metaverse dream, he seemed to miss the wave of consumer-facing AI-powered programs being developed under his nose in Silicon Valley.

Now, in what could be an attempt to catch up, Meta has submitted a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) saying that it “may, from time to time, offer and sell debt securities in one or more series.”

What purpose do these debt securities serve? They grant equity issuers like Meta the right to register a new issue of securities without obliging it to sell the entire issue at once, according to Investopedia.

The filing didn’t mention specific numbers as to the amount of debt securities Meta wants to offer, but that didn’t stop Twitter and other social media sleuths from speculating as to what the news was all about.

Some speculated that Meta was seeking to raise funds for AI development without issuing new shares. While that can’t be confirmed until the company sheds more light on its intentions, it does make sense, given its absence from the AI party so far.

What is Mark Zuckerberg thinking now?

It’s no secret that Zuckerberg’s pivot to the Metaverse was less than successful. After literally renaming the company to reflect its change in direction, the Metaverse buzz died down and has left the firm with a $4 billion loss (so far) on its books. Zuck has clarified that he expects more pain to come in 2023, meaning it may not be much of an improvement on the $14 billion hit the social media giant took last year.

Is the Meta founder planning to pivot away from the Metaverse as the hype dies down and reality sets in? It’s as yet unclear, but in any case, his company raising funds to get into the AI game makes sense. Unlike the Metaverse, which is a misunderstood concept that his company is miles behind in, AI is better understood, and Meta AI is already an established arm of the empire, so it’s not like they’re starting from scratch.

However, while Meta’s stock has more than doubled since its Q4 2022 lows, investors may be wondering how the CEO could be caught flat-footed amidst a wave of AI euphoria, leaving it trailing behind after spending so much time and energy on the Metaverse.

Could Zuckerberg’s star be fading? After shredding his company’s reputation during the Cambridge Analytica scandal, diving headlong into a loosely defined concept that has since fallen out of vogue, and then waking up and realizing that he didn’t have enough cash for AI development after earmarking $40 billion for stock buybacks, a few questions about Mark Zuckerberg’s judgment wouldn’t be out of order.

Perhaps he should spend less time suing Dr. Craig Wright to break open his intellectual property portfolio, chasing dreams of a virtual world in which he is an all-seeing overlord, and more time thinking about the tech trends his company stands a realistic chance of leading in. Time will tell where Meta ends up, but Zuckerberg’s recent form has been less than reassuring.

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