Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage, and there are plenty of rumours about his infidelity in the final year of their relationship.
We covered that yesterday, with many outlets alleging that the ‘other woman’ is Lauren Sánchez, who is married to Hollywood talent mogul Patrick Whitesell.
For now, that’s an aside, but what is important to remember is that Jeff and MacKenzie married a year before he started Amazon, and that company has gone on to do pretty well for itself over the years.
With an estimated personal wealth of $137 billion, if the money was to be split down the middle, as many think it might be, then MacKenzie would hold the title of world’s richest woman.
Below from the Guardian:
MacKenzie, 48, would become the world’s richest woman if she receives half the Bezos fortune. That title, according to Bloomberg estimates, is currently held by the L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, whose net worth is estimated at $45.6bn…
MacKenzie was a key player in Amazon.com’s early days in a suburban Seattle garage; according to a 1999 Wired report, she negotiated the company’s first freight contracts from a Starbucks attached to a Barnes & Noble near their home. She described the experience while offering a scathing review – on Amazon.com, expectedly – of Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon…
Speaking with Vogue in 2013, though, she described herself as a “lottery winner” of a different sort.
I don’t know about that, because she put in some hard yards over the years, but she’s certainly reaped the rewards.
If you’re wondering about whether or not a prenup was signed, you’re not alone, but it’s been widely reported that the couple does not have one in place.
In that case, the law is pretty clear:
Divorce papers do not appear to have been filed in Washington state, where they made their home.
Under Washington state law, unless there is a prenuptial agreement, property acquired during a marriage is usually equally divided in the event of a divorce, said Carol Bailey, managing partner at Integrative Family Law in Seattle.
“The court’s objective when there is considerable wealth is to make sure that both spouses in a long-term marriage of 20 years or more will, after divorce, be taken care of for the rest of their lives, and to make the ultimate financial result fair given the overall context and events of the marriage.”
Should Jeff divvy up his fortune equally with MacKenzie, he would be worth a paltry $68,5 billion, which would see him drop to joint fourth on the richest people in the world list.
The former couple would be wedged in between Amancio Ortega, a Spanish fashion retailer with a net worth of $62,2 billion, and France’s Bernard Arnault, also a fashion retailer, whose net worth is $72,2 billion.
Bill Gates, the computer whizz and toilet revolutionary, would regain top spot, which he had held for more than two decades until Jeff pipped him last year, with a net worth of around $93 billion.
He still wouldn’t have enough money to buy this woman’s hotel, though.
One real pitfall for Bezos, other than seeing his net worth slashed in half, would be that he could lose control of Amazon. Here’s the Daily Beast:
Even an amicable uncoupling could affect Amazon and possibly The Washington Post, which the online-retail baron bought during his marriage. Amazon is a public company of which Bezos alone owns controlling power through his 78.8 million shares—roughly 16.2 percent of the firm, valued at approximately $130.7 billion, according to The Street. If he has to give half of those shares to his ex-wife, it would dilute his ownership of the company, say analysts who have been studying this in the context of other big-money breakups. That could have a detrimental effect on the value of Amazon, which would ultimately not be in any ex’s interest, according to CNBC.
Still, if he has to split up his shares, he may lose control of the company. Seattle-based attorney David Starks told CNBC that he assumed that the Bezos’ had come to an agreement before announcing their divorce.
“I have to imagine that some of the longest conversations and most legal mind power went into how to fashion a settlement that retained Jeff Bezos’ ability to remain a controlling shareholder in Amazon,” Starks told CNBC, suggesting that Tuttle [MacKenzie’s maiden name] may have agreed to give up claim to the stock or give up her voting rights to her shares in exchange for some other asset.
Finding an amicable solution that leaves all parties satisfied could be difficult, but let’s be honest here – both of them are going to end up being OK at the end of the day.
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