Jeff Bezos’ Wife Could Get More Than $50 Billion In Divorce

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Written by Dana Sanchez

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced today on Twitter that they are divorcing after 25 years of marriage, the Twitterverse naturally exploded with a mixture of humor, empathy and skepticism.

The couple announced the divorce in a joint statement released on Bezos’s Twitter account on Wednesday morning. The tweet suggested they’re parting on good terms and “remain cherished friends”.

Bezos is worth an estimated $137 billion, which makes him the wealthiest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He founded Amazon soon after marrying MacKenzie, whom he met while working at the New York City-based hedge fund D.E. Shaw.

She got hired as a research associate at D.E. Shaw in 1992, and sat in an office next door to her future husband, the New York Times reported. MacKenzie told Vogue that she asked Bezos to lunch and, within three months, they were engaged, marrying in 1993. The couple lived in a one-bedroom rental in downtown Seattle until 1999. Bezos started Amazon in a garage. The couple has four children.

Bezos now owns the Washington Post, rocket ship maker Blue Origin and a 27,000-square-foot mansion in D.C. that he bought for $250 million in 2013.

Theirs could be the most expensive divorce ever, CNBC reported. Any money made during their marriage could be split equally between them, according to Washington State’s community property laws. MacKenzie could argue that she is entitled to half of Bezos’ entire Amazon-based fortune. MacKenzie could get as much as $66 billion based on Amazon’s current value.

Bezos
Jeff Bezos, left, and wife MacKenzie Bezos arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Bezos may have sell or pledge shares to fund a settlement that big, which could dilute his ownership and control of the company. He owns almost 80 million shares of Amazon — about 16 percent of the company — according to regulatory filings.

Dividing assets would mean that Bezos would own 8.15 percent of the company — that’s more than the next-largest shareholder, Vanguard, which owned 5.8 percent in 2017, according to Recode.

Divorce attorneys say MacKenzie will likely want the family fortune to continue to grow and that is tied to Bezos’ control of the company, Vox reported.

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About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.


Dana Sanchez
Image Attribution: Jeff Bezos, left, and wife MacKenzie Bezos arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP),