Jeff Bezos announced yesterday that his wife MacKenzie Bezos and he were going to get a divorce. By the legislation of the state in which they live, the goods acquired during the marriage would be divided equally. So, could Bezos’ divorce affect Amazon?
“After 25 years of marriage the richest marriage in the world separates. We refer to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos.”
Bezos announced his divorce yesterday on Twitter, a few words full of love in which he says that both will continue to be great friends. But personal relationships aside, we must ask ourselves what will happen to the huge fortune of the Bezos, and to the source of a large part of this income: Amazon.
During their marriage Bezos founded Amazon, Blue Origin and bought The Washington Post. He is currently the richest person in the world, owner of the most valuable company in the world, which surpasses even Apple and Microsoft. Thus, it is the largest shareholder of the company, with 16.3% of shares.
The divorce will be regulated by the legislation of Washington, where the Amazon headquarters are located and where the couple has a home. Unless they have agreed otherwise, which is not known in the case of the Bezos, all assets acquired and debts incurred during the marriage are divided equally.
This leads shareholders to question how the divorce from Bezos will affect Amazon. It is an unusual situation. For starters, it is not so common to see divorces from such successful founders, who have been married since before launching the company. Thus, normally a CEO would try to avoid splitting the shares by transferring other assets to his spouse; however, in this case it seems that much of the fortune will be related to Amazon, making it difficult not to touch the stock.
That is, his wife will probably take Amazon stock, and this will cause changes in ownership. If this happens, it may be necessary to change the structure of Amazon to ensure that Bezos’ voting right is in line with the number of shares it owns. Jordan Neyland, a law professor at George Mason University, explained to CNBC that a possible solution would be to create different types of shares with different voting rights.