How assets were split in the divorce of the world’s richest man

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2019 | Uncategorized

Massachusetts residents have followed Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos in the news since he started the world’s largest marketplace in the 1990s. When he announced a divorce from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, some shareholders began to ask questions about how it might affect Jeff’s controlling ownership over the company. Ultimately, MacKenzie relinquished voting control of the shares she personally owned in Amazon. She also gave her ex-husband 75% of the Amazon stocks that were co-owned by the couple, as reported by Business Insider.

The couple’s joint high-net worth came primarily from their co-ownership of the shares they held in Amazon, which as a company, hit a market capitalization of $1 trillion. The value of the shares that remained in MacKenzie’s possession were worth about $38 billion at the time their divorce was completed. The issue that caused concerns for some Amazon shareholders was whether Mr. Bezos would be required to transfer to his wife any of his ownership of the stocks they co-owned during their divorce.

Investors were also concerned over how shareholder voting decisions would turn out if Jeff Bezos no longer had the majority controlling interest in the company. Other stockholders were speculating on how the price of the stock might fluctuate if the Amazon CEO were required to sell some of his shares in the market so that he could transfer their cash value to his ex-wife.

Despite the shareholder concerns, the 25-year Bezos marriage came to an amicable settlement with the couple splitting up their complex assets in a mutually-satisfying manner. As CNBC has reported, however, not all asset divisions are equal nor amicable when divorcing couples need to decide on the division of complicated taxes and properties.