Business Technology

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Mr & Mrs Facebook:

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are seen in this photograph taken on their wedding day. Photo: Reuters
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are seen in this photograph taken on their wedding day. Photo: Reuters
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at their wedding ceremony in California (AP Photo/Facebook, Allyson Magda Photography)
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are seen in this screengrab of a wedding photo posted on Zuckerberg's Facebook page. Photo: Reuters
Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on a screen televised from their headquarters in Menlo Park moments after their IPO launch in New York on May 18. Photo: Reuters
Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rings the NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell remotely from 'Facebook' headquarters. Photo: Reuters

Rosa Prince in New York

THEY were words of wisdom from one billionaire to another -- whatever you do, make sure your intended signs a prenuptial agreement before you marry.

But when Mark Zuckerberg wed his long-time girlfriend, a day after the stock market in New York valued Facebook at $104bn (about €81bn), it was unclear whether he had taken property mogul Donald Trump's advice.

Like the rest of the world, Mr Trump was unaware of Mr Zuckerberg's forthcoming marriage to Priscilla Chan when he mused on the implications for their relationship of the 28-year-old's increased wealth following Facebook's public flotation.

With a 28pc stake in the company, Mr Zuckerberg's worth now stands at more than $19bn.

Mr Trump told CNBC: "So he's gonna be worth like $18, $19bn, you're telling me he's got a girlfriend -- does he get a prenuptial agreement?

"They get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10bn and she hits the jackpot."

Asked how much the new Mrs Zuckerberg should receive from a prenup, the three-times married Mr Trump said: "I'm notoriously cheap with these things, I think if she made $1m that would be very good."

Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Chan married in a quiet ceremony at their home in Palo Alto, California, on Saturday in front of 100 guests, mainly family and colleagues, who had been told they were attending a party to celebrate 27-year-old Ms Chan's graduation from medical school last week.

News of the nuptials was shared with the wider public, perhaps inevitably, via Facebook, with Mr Zuckerberg posting a wedding photograph as a "life event". Ms Chan updated her relationship status to "married".

Friends of the couple insisted that the timing of the wedding was not related to the flotation, the date of which had been "a moving target".

Instead, they had wanted to wait until after Ms Chan's graduation from the University of San Francisco. Now a trained doctor, she intends to undertake further study to qualify as a paediatrician.

The happy couple are unlikely to have had such unromantic matters on their minds as prenups during their intimate wedding, where guests dined on sushi from their favourite restaurant with Burdick Chocolate "mice", which they shared on their first date, for dessert.

Hoodie

The groom shed his trademark hooded sweatshirt, trainers and donned a dark blue suit for the ceremony, presenting Ms Chan with a "very simple ruby" ring he had designed himself.

The wedding date may, however, be key if the couple do go on to separate.

If they did not sign a prenup, holding the wedding after Facebook's flotation is likely to have saved Mr Zuckerberg billions of dollars in the event of divorce. Under California law, divorcing spouses are entitled to half of all assets and income accrued during a marriage, but usually have no claim over wealth built up before the wedding.

If a prenup was agreed the law gives a seven-day cooling-off period between the drawing up and signing, meaning the exact financial details of the flotation could not have been included.

Mr Zuckerberg could have asked Ms Chan to agree to limit a divorce payout to a particular amount or accept a percentage of his wealth at the time of separation. Prenuptials are legally binding in the United States, and California is particularly respectful of them.

Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Chan, whose family comes from China and who grew up in Braintree, Massachusetts, are well known for keeping their relationship private. She changed her Facebook status to "In a Relationship with Mark Zuckerberg" only last March, despite having been dating him for nine years.

They met at a party at Harvard University, where she was in the year below him. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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