How Jeff Bezo’s Divorce Could Affect Amazon

Sat 9th February, 2019 Family Law

The Wealthiest Man in the World is Getting Divorced

Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are divorcing after 25 years of marriage and just over one year after he was named the richest person in the world. The couple is splitting a massive fortune of $140 billion without a prenuptial agreement, and the divorce has many wondering how it might affect Amazon and other companies in which Bezos currently owns a stake. For couples that have significant interests in businesses or are running their own businesses, filing for divorce can substantially impact how that business is run, who runs it, and if it will survive.

Bezos’ Business Investments

Jeff Bezos owns 15% of Amazon, and the company is currently valued at $800 billion. He also owns The Washington Post, which he purchased for $250 million in 2013. Bezos also founded and owns Blue Origin, a rocket and space travel company that he founded in 2000 and invests about $1 billion in Amazon stock to its development annually. He also owns stakes in companies like Airbnb, Uber, Nextdoor, and Twitter. He started the Day One charitable fund late last year, with a $2 billion initial investment to help aid non-profit organizations that are focused on issues such as homelessness and developing preschools in low income neighborhoods.

How the Divorce Could Affect Businesses

At this point, it is difficult to know how the divorce may affect Amazon and other businesses tied to Bezos. If the fortune is split in half between the spouses, Bezos could lose direct control of half of his Amazon stake. His wife could push for changes in the company or a seat at the Board of Directors table in exchange for some of the Amazon stock she is set to receive. Experts believe that regardless of the final agreement to split interests in the business, Amazon and other companies owned by Bezos will be negatively affected. Shake-ups in corporate governance and distractions for the CEO are never positive situations for a business, and the stock price may reflect it. 

However, despite the divorce, Bezos is likely to remain just as involved in Amazon as he has been. As the founder of the company, and with at least $70 billion left after the divorce, Bezos is likely to stay involved in the growth of Amazon and continue to grow the business. Currently, he is developing two major Amazon offices on the east coast, expanding the reach of smart home gadgets like Echo speakers, and competing with other retail giants like Walmart, Target, and more.

This Has Happened Before

Other high-profile divorces have affected major business operations in recent years. One main example is the 2010 divorce of Wynn Resorts founders Steve and Elaine Wynn. They split their 18% stake in the company, but Elaine managed to sue to regain voting control of her shares and eventually became the biggest stockholder when her former husband resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. Another divorce that affected businesses was the split between Rupert and Anna Murdoch in 1999, who controlled many media outlets and newspapers throughout the country. We can only wait and see how this divorce will affect the business of Amazon and other entities tied to Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.

Talk to a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer Today

Do you have questions about how a divorce in California might affect your business? If so, call or contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler to schedule a consultation today.