Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, have announced that they are getting divorced. Amazon shareholders in Wyoming and around the world will be watching to see how this enormously wealthy couple’s assets will be divided and the impact that division will have on the value and future of the company. As the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos’s divorce will likely be one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, ever.
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos married in 1993, and Jeff founded Amazon soon after in 1994. Since that time, the couple has welcomed four children, and Amazon has become one of the largest companies in the world. Jeff is credited with being the world’s richest man with a net worth of over $136 billion. He reportedly owns over 16 percent of Amazon’s 477 million shares.
Unlike Wyoming, which is an equitable division state, the couple’s home state is a community property state. This means that all assets acquired after the start of the marriage are considered marital property, regardless of how they were treated during the marriage. There is no personal property unless it is established in a prenuptial agreement, which the Bezoses reportedly do not have. Upon divorce, all assets are considered owned equally by both spouses and are usually divided equally.
If all of the Bezoses’ assets are divided equally, including the almost 79 million shares of Amazon stock, Jeff will lose his status as the world’s richest man. It is thought, however, that he will likely maintain control of Amazon. MacKenzie Bezos will become the world’s richest woman and, at an 8 percent ownership, will still own more shares of Amazon than the second-largest stakeholder, who owns 6 percent.
Shareholders in Wyoming and around the world will watch to see what impact the Bezos divorce will have on Amazon stock value. Although most divorces don’t have such an impact on others, all are important to those involved. Anyone considering getting divorced should seek the advice and representation of an experienced attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will help his or her client through the entire process, easing stress and protecting the client’s interests, no matter how big or how small.