Bezos divorce clouds his Amazon stake

By Business LeadersFOXBusiness

What Bezos' divorce means for Amazon shareholders

WSJ Assistant Editorial Page Editor James Freeman and FBN's Cheryl Casone and Susan Li on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announcing his divorce from his wife MacKenzie Bezos and its potential impact on Amazon shareholders.

The divorce of Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, could have a major impact on the ownership of the giant online retailer.

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The couple is divorcing after 25 years of marriage, during which Bezos amassed a fortune -- he is the world’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $137 billion -- built the world’s most valuable company.

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Bezos is the largest shareholder with a 16.3 percent stake, according to the company’s latest proxy filed in April 2018.

On Thursday, TMZ reported that the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, which would have outlined the terms of a split.

Without a nuptial agreement, MacKenzie Bezos could be in line for half of the couple’s wealth if they divorce in a so-called community-property state such as Washington, where Amazon is based, or California, where they own property, lawyers told the Wall Street Journal.

That could mean MacKenzie Bezos may influence shareholder votes on resolutions and press for changes at the company.

The next biggest holders are Vanguard Group and BlackRock Group Inc., each with a little more than 5 percent of the company.

MacKenzie Bezos couldn’t be reached for comment.

In addition to Amazon, Bezos also founded rocket company Blue Origin and owns the Washington Post, as well as homes around the country.

Some previous high-profile divorces involving executives have had an impact on corporations.

For example, Elaine Wynn divorced Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn in 2010, and she ultimately ended up being the casino company’s largest shareholder.

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Real estate magnate Frank McCourt’s divorce from his wife earlier this decade eventually led to the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, according to the Journal.