Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie are getting divorced, ending a 25-year marriage that played a role in setting up an e-commerce company that made Bezos one of the richest people in the world.
The decision to divorce comes after the separation from the trial, according to a statement released Wednesday in Jeff Bezos' Twitter account. He and his wife signed the announcement, which ended with a promise to remain "dear friends."
"If we knew we would part after 25 years, we would do it all over again," the couple said.
Left unanswered was one of the biggest points of contention in any divorce: how the assets accumulated during the marriage will be divided.
And maybe there has never been more money than in this case.
Jeff Bezos is at the top of most of the richest people's lists in the world, and his fortune is currently around $ 137 billion, according to Forbes and Bloomberg estimates.
Virtually all of this is linked to the nearly 79 million Amazon shares (currently valued at about $ 130 billion) that Bezos owns, translating into a 16% stake in the Seattle-based company. Bezos, 54, also owns Blue Origin and The Washington Post, which he bought for $ 250 million in 2013.
Since the two were married before the founding of Amazon, MacKenzie Bezos, a 48-year-old novelist, is likely to make a big claim to this fortune, although the details depend on where the couple asks for a divorce and if they had a prenuptial agreement .
King County, where his home is located, confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday that the Bezoses did not ask for a divorce in court. The couple owns a home in a wealthy suburb of Seattle within the county. Jeff Bezos also bought a mansion in an elegant neighborhood of Washington D.C. last year for $ 23 million. The bezoses have four children.
"Property acquired during marriage is common property," said Jennifer Payseno, a lawyer for the McKinley Irvin family in Seattle. This includes ownership of shares, although Amazon has not filed any regulatory documents to suggest that Bezos' stake in the company has changed. Amazon did not answer questions about how divorce could affect that participation.
I was there when he wrote the business plan.– MacKenzie Bezos on Amazon book review on the origins of the company
The Bezoses will almost certainly settle the divorce out of court if they have not already, said Jacqueline Newman, a Manhattan divorce lawyer and managing partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd.
"Most of the time, they will want to keep things private and quiet," she said. "Especially in the case of a public company, they will not want to leak information because this may affect stock prices."
Amazon shares rose $ 2.84 on Wednesday, closing at $ 1,659.42. That left Amazon with a market value of $ 811 billion, more than any other US publicly traded company.
& # 39; Offices smelling of BBQ & # 39;
The friendly tone of the Bezoses divorce announcement makes it highly likely that the couple has already reached an agreement on how to divide their assets, Payseno said.
The enormous wealth of Jeff Bezos has increased focus on him, though his divorce seems unlikely to captivate the public as high-profile dissidents involving movie stars such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Or even those of other billionaires, such as Donald Trump's tabloid, split with his first wife, Ivana, in the early 1990s, long before he was elected president of the United States.
But Bezos's divorce seems to attract more attention than when Google co-founder Sergey Brin – currently valued at $ 49 billion – divorced his ex-wife Anne in 2015.
Amazon's origins go back to a trip the Bezoses made together shortly after meeting in New York while working in the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. They were married only six months after they started dating, according to Bezos.
Not long after, Jeff Bezos quit his job at Shaw and started an online bookstore. As his wife drove across the country, Bezos wrote a business plan en route to Seattle – chosen for its abundance of technological talents. In July 1995, Amazon was operating out of a garage, with MacKenzie Bezos lending a hand, according to a review she posted on Amazon in 2013 panning The Everything Shop, A book about Bezos and the company written by Brad Stone.
"I was there when he wrote the business plan, and I worked with him and many others represented in the remodeled garage, the basement warehouse, the barbecue-smelling offices, the Christmas distribution centers, and the conference full of doors. in the early years of Amazon's history, "he recalled.
Since then, Amazon has evolved from a top-notch book website to an e-commerce goliath that sells virtually every imaginable commodity and manages data centers that power many other digital services, such as Netflix. It has also become a leader in voice-activated smart speakers with its Echo products, which are emerging as command centers for homes connected to the Internet – and a gateway to buying more Amazon items.