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Can the world's richest man expedite his divorce? It might just happen for Amazon's Jeff Bezos

Sutrishna Ghosh
14th Jan 2019
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After 25 years of marriage, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced his divorce from MacKenzie Bezos, a Princeton University graduate and a novelist, last week. The news dropped via a tweet – announcing the split and their decision to “continue our shared lives as friends” – has since racked up a storm in the world of business and media alike.

Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Bezos

Jeff Bezos, the 55-year-old CEO of one of the world’s most valuable company, is billed the world’s richest man - a spot he secured in the annual Forbes list after battling out with the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg in 2018. His net worth is pinned at $137 billion and his divorce is dubbed one of the most high-profile cases.

Personal lives in such situations are usually intertwined with the professional, and the Bezos divorce case is no different. Ever since the social media announcement, there have been wild speculations surrounding the fate of the online retail giant Amazon, especially in terms of its shares and ownership.

A popular opinion among experts is that the impending divorce might be handled "as quickly as an Amazon delivery." Evidently, the humour is addressed towards the couple's riches. The timing aside, mixed opinions have been shared over financial settlement as well.

Divorce attorneys dealing in high-profile cases believe the legal split might see all assets and debts divided equally owing to the laws applicable in the state of Washington, resulting in a 50/50 settlement. This means that Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos' divorce could turn out to be the biggest recorded divorce settlement, reports The Washington Post.

Now whether or not the couple has a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement to adhere to is not clear at the moment. But going by their official joint statement, one thing is apparent – the Bezos are headed for a clean and amicable split.

In the light of this, reports predict that in case of a 50-50 splitting of fortune, the Amazon CEO might end up losing the world’s richest man spot on Forbes’ list. MacKenzie, on the other hand, might gain a position in the annual ranking.

The question remains – what about Amazon? Could this sudden split have implications on the company’s ownership and its shares – as happened with Steve Wynn, the founder of Wynn Resorts and his former wife Elaine? Following their 2010 divorce and a long-drawn legal battle over control of shares, a great portion of Wynn shares and capital was caught in the limbo, claimed reports.

Complicated divorces amid billionaires are not unheard of in the past. For instance, the former Los Angeles Dodgers owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt’s divorce settlement cost a whopping $130 million back in 2009.

There haven't been much of a change in terms of Amazon shares since the divorce news. If Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos continue to maintain the united front that they have since the split announcement, chances are their legal separation will come through quickly and without much pain. But then it’s all up to speculations at the moment.


 

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