Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will keep 75% of the shares in the ecommerce giant that were jointly held with his wife, MacKenzie — and he will retain full voting control of all of the couple’s shares — after the two finalized terms of their divorce.
According to an SEC filing Thursday, MacKenzie Bezos will hold shares representing about 4% of Amazon’s outstanding common stock, currently worth around $35.6 billion. That means Bezos will retain a 12% stake in Amazon, worth more than $100 billion. The divorce settlement makes MacKenzie the fourth-largest shareholder of Amazon, behind Jeff Bezos and investment firms Vanguard Group and BlackRock.
“A petition for divorce was filed on April 4, 2019, and the divorce decree is expected to be issued in approximately 90 days,” Amazon said in the 8-K filing. If MacKenzie Bezos sells or transfers any of her Amazon stock holdings, the “proposed transferee” must enter into a voting agreement on the same terms and conditions granting a proxy to Jeff Bezos to vote those shares, per the filing.
Bezos will remain the richest individual in the world, even after the divorce, with a net worth over $110 billion as of Thursday, per Forbes. The divorce settlement — believed to be the biggest ever — will make MacKenzie Bezos the third-wealthiest woman in the world, according to Forbes, trailing L’Oréal’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (with a net worth of $52.9 billion) and Walmart’s Alice Walton ($45 billion).
Bezos announced the couple’s plans to divorce in January after 25 years of marriage. MacKenzie on Thursday announced the financial details of the couple’s divorce on Twitter.
“Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reached out to us in kindness, and looking forward to next phase as co-parents and friends,” she wrote in the tweet. “Happy to be giving him all of my interests in the Washington Post, Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares to support his continued contributions with the teams of these incredible companies. Excited about my own plans. Grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next.”
— MacKenzie Scott (@mackenziescott) April 4, 2019
Bezos also issued a statement via Twitter, saying in part, “I’m so grateful to all my friends and family for reaching out with encouragement and love. It means more than you know. MacKenzie most of all… In all our work together, MacKenzie’s abilities have been on full display. She has been an extraordinary partner, ally, and mother.”
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 4, 2019
Jeff Bezos, 55, and MacKenzie Bezos, 48, were married in 1993, after they met at hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. in New York City where Jeff Bezos was an SVP and MacKenzie Tuttle was a research associate. They are the parents of four children: three sons, and a daughter adopted from China.
Jeff Bezos last year began dating Lauren Sanchez, the wife of Endeavor executive chairman Patrick Whitesell. Sanchez and Whitesell, who were married in 2005, separated last fall.
In a bizarre twist, Bezos in February publicly leveled accusations that the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc., engaged in a scheme to blackmail and extort him with a threat of publishing compromising photos it had somehow obtained via private texts between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez. AMI’s initial response was that it acted “lawfully” in reporting on the story about Bezos and Sanchez.
On March 30, Bezos’ personal private investigator, Gavin de Becker, wrote in an op-ed on the Daily Beast that his investigation had concluded with “high confidence” that the Saudi Arabian government had stolen private info from Jeff Bezos’ phone, allegedly in retaliation for the Washington Post’s aggressive coverage of the regime and specifically the Saudis’ murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. AMI has said its source for the texts and photos was Michael Sanchez, Lauren Sanchez’s estranged brother.
De Becker did not explicitly accuse AMI of collaborating with the Saudis to obtain dirt on Bezos. According to the investigator, American Media had demanded de Becker make a public statement saying he was not aware of “any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in [AMI’s] news-gathering process” — otherwise, the company threatened, it would publish the private Bezos photos in its possession. De Becker also noted that in 2018, AMI published a 100-page magazine called “The New Kingdom” that heaped praise on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.