CEO and President of tech company Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie have announced their intention to part ways after a 25-year marriage.
This was made known in a joint statement released via a tweet on Wednesday. The divorce appears to be mutually agreed as according to the tweet, they both hope to continue their “shared lives as friends.”
Despite this, Washington where the Bezoses live and where Amazon is headquartered is a “community property” state. This means that if the couple files for divorce there, all assets and debts accrued during their marriage will be considered owned by both husband and wife. And unless there is a prenuptial agreement in place that states otherwise, their assets would be divided equally.
And thus far it’s not known whether the couple has any such agreement in place. Although so far, the divorce seems amicable.
The 54-year-old world richest man, Jeff Bezos is worth an estimated $137 billion. If he and his wife don’t reach an agreement on their own, she could be entitled to at least half his fortune ($66 billion) making her the world’s richest woman.
What Would this Mean for Amazon?
Currently worth $797bn, Amazon is the world’s second largest company by market value and founder, Jeff Bezos owns 16% of it. But according to CNBC, in order for Jeff to be able to pay half his fortune, he would be required to sell some of his 80 million Amazon shares. This would significantly reduce his stake in the company which in turn might lead to a change in ownership of Amazon.
Although the company might not be affected in terms of profit and returns, such a divorce settlement could potentially put a stop in Bezos’ side projects. Such projects include the space exploration company Blue Origin (in which he funnels $1 billion a year of his own fortune into) and media house, Washington Post.
Amazon’s value would likely dip if Jeff loses control of the company. It is for this reason that divorce attorneys think it is unlikely that MacKenzie would push for a settlement that would force him to sell shares and lose control of the company.