In the early 1990s a young Jeff Bezos was working at an investment firm. He interviewed MacKenzie Tuttle. She wanted a job. She got it, and the two got together personally. They married in 1993, and soon after the wedding the couple drove to Seattle, and Jeff started an online bookstore: Amazon!
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From that modest beginning, Amazon became the power-house of online selling, the most valuable company in the world, and Bezos the richest person on the planet. Worth about $140 billion.
Then came yesterday's blockbuster headline: Jeff and MacKenzie were getting a divorce.
There's a back-story here: The National Enquirer claims to have been following Bezos and had photographed him in exotic locations with another woman, Lauren Sanchez, the wife of a powerful Hollywood talent agent. Bezos announced the divorce, reportedly, when he found out that the Enquirer was about to publish those pictures.
The Bezos family is entitled to privacy, but their position at Amazon means they can't avoid the scrutiny of investors. How will a divorce affect the company and how will it affect the stock?
Jeff Bezos owns 16.3 percent of Amazon's shares. As by far the largest shareholder, he runs the company. Will he still have that authority if he loses half his shares? A 50/50 split is the norm, especially where adultery is alleged. And if MacKenzie walks with her half, what impact will she have on the running of the company or the makeup of its board?
We rarely cover this kind of story, but its impact on this extremely powerful company makes extensive coverage a must. We are not going to moralize. We are going to analyze. Millions of people have put their money into Amazon: They are entitled to know what happens to their money now.