Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his sooon-to-be-ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, announced Thursday a divorce settlement that will leave him with 75 percent of their Amazon stock and voting power over all of the Amazon voting shares the former couple own together.
The announcement from the Bezoses – coming in a tweet from MacKenzie that was retweeted by Jeff – settled a closely watched matter of corporate governance affecting one of the world’s richest companies, with a market capitalization of $890 billion, and the world’s wealthiest person.
The record divorce settlement, which also will award Jeff Bezos all of the former couple’s joint holdings in The Washington Post and a space-flight company, Blue Origin, is likely to remove uncertainty over the extent of his continued control over Amazon – a company he founded in 1994 and for which he remains CEO and has the most stock of any shareholder. Their marriage lasted 25 years, and they have four children.
MacKenzie Bezos, 48, will be awarded about 4 percent of the company, a stake worth roughly $36 billion, based on Amazon’s market value Thursday. She will become one of the wealthiest women in the world, after such heiresses as the women who own giant stakes in L’Oreal and Walmart.
Bezos, 55, will retain the remaining 12 percent of the company. He will, however, have sole voting power over the shares the two once jointly controlled, which together amount to 16 percent of Amazon’s total shares. Jeff Bezos is worth at least $107 billion, based on his Amazon holdings alone. Forbes estimated his worth earlier this year at $131 billion before the divorce settlement. The world’s second-richest person at the time was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, a neighbor of the Bezoses, with about $96.5 billion, according to Forbes.
The divorce should be settled in roughly 90 days, according to an Amazon regulatory filing Thursday.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Craig Timberg, Greg Bensinger