The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, will retain his voting power in the company after reaching a divorce agreement with his wife, MacKenzie. The agreement will also enable Bezos to retain his world richest man spot.
The shares agreement: In the settlement, Jeff Bezos will keep the voting control of his entire $143 billion stake in Amazon, with his wife, MacKenzie expected to own 25 percent of those shares.
MacKenzie’s stake in Amazon will be worth roughly $36 billion, representing a 4 percent stake in Amazon. This will make her the world’s third-richest woman.
The level of Bezos’ influence in Amazon became a topic for debate in the business world after the couple’s impending divorce was made public. There were reports that he could lose his spot on the World Richest Man’s list. But this latest development has doused such a possibility.
In addition, MacKenzie will give up her interests in the Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos bought in 2013 and the rocket company, Blue Origin, which Bezos founded in 2000.
MacKenzie, who joined Twitter less than 24 hours ago just to announce the finalisation of the divorce, also outlined the agreement.
— MacKenzie Bezos (@mackenziebezos) April 4, 2019
In response, Bezos appreciated her support and said he was grateful for her kindness during the process.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 4, 2019
There’s a clause in the agreement
Bezos continues to have the controlling vote if MacKenzie doesn’t donate her shares to a nonprofit or sell them in the open market. Until then, Bezos remains the single largest shareholder with a 16.3 percent stake, as disclosed in a proxy statement by Amazon.
The settlement is pleasing, as this means Amazon won’t have to go through leadership tussle as experienced by some companies going through similar family rifts.
Why they are divorcing: There are two sides to the story. While the couple had claimed that they were on a “long period of loving exploration and trial separation”, an American publication, National Enquirer, published intimate text messages between Bezos and his alleged new partner, former television news anchor Lauren Sanchez. Some alleged photos were also published, all to prove that the couple’s divorce wasn’t amicable.
The agreement will take effect once the court approves the divorce, which is expected to occur within the next 90 days.