Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce could impact his pledge to use proceeds from stock sales to fund his private space company Blue Origin.
Bezos has repeatedly said he plans to liquidate $1 billion worth of Amazon stock each year to fuel Blue Origin’s growth. The Washington-based firm is developing reusable rockets that would transport “space tourists” into orbit at relatively low cost.
“The price of admission to space is very high,” Bezos said while accepting the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award last March, according to Bloomberg. “I’m in the process of converting my Amazon lottery winnings into a much lower price of admission so we can go explore the solar system.”
Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, did not address the financial terms of their divorce when announcing their split in a joint statement on Wednesday. TMZ reported that the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, meaning that Bezos’ assets, including 78.8 million shares of Amazon stock worth $130 billion, could be evenly divided between the pair.
It’s unclear how the potential division of assets would impact Bezos’ plans for Blue Origin or the stock sale pledge. Amazon and Blue Origin representatives did not return requests for comment.
One day before Bezos announced the divorce, Blue Origin executive Ariane Cornell said the company is still on track to sell flight tickets to tourists and transport them into space in 2019.
“So we are aiming to fly people early in 2019, but let's be very clear, we've also said this before, only when we're ready,” she said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “Believe me if I could I would jump on top of that rocket tomorrow.”
Amazon said the divorce will not have any impact on Bezos’ role or responsibilities at the company.
“Jeff remains focused on and engaged in all aspects of Amazon,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
Blue Origin is one of multiple private firms competing to develop their own rockets capable of space travel. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s venture, SpaceX, has conducted several test flights and also plans to launch manned trips in the coming months.