Wednesday 21 August 2019

Amazon boss's wife becomes world's third richest woman after $35.6bn divorce deal

Former couple: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos last year before they split up. Photo: Evan Agostini
Former couple: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos last year before they split up. Photo: Evan Agostini

Margi Murphy

Jeff Bezos has retained a tight grip on Amazon following a divorce deal with his wife of 25 years that makes her one of the richest women on Earth.

The billionaire has finalised a settlement with MacKenzie Bezos in which he retains 75pc of their Amazon shares, worth around $97.5bn (€86bn), and complete voting control.

She will become the fourth largest shareholder and is now worth around $35.6bn. Writing on Twitter, Ms Bezos said she was "happy" to hand over the majority of the couple's shared Amazon stock plus voting control of her shares.

She will also surrender complete control of Blue Origin, a space-exploration company, as well as the 'Washington Post', which Bezos bought in 2013 for $250m.

The novelist appeared to brush off any animosity between the pair, claiming to be "looking forward to [the] next phase as co-parents and friends".

The Texan tech mogul shared a separate statement on Twitter yesterday, in which he described his former wife as "resourceful and brilliant and loving" and that he was "grateful for her support and for her kindness in this process".

Amazon's stock dipped by half a percent following the news.

Mr Bezos, who founded the $890bn online marketplace in 1994, announced the end of their marriage on January 9, a day before American tabloid 'National Enquirer' published details of his "months-long affair" with a former newsreader, Lauren Sanchez.


Mr Bezos later claimed the paper had attempted to blackmail him with sexual pictures taken on his smartphone. His top security chief last week accused Saudi Arabia of hacking Mr Bezos's phone to obtain the pictures and texts detailing his whirlwind romance.

Former FBI agent Gavin de Becker, who was told by Mr Bezos to "spend whatever is needed" to find the source, claimed the hacking was a "key part of the Saudis' 'extensive surveillance efforts'."

The Saudi government's minister of state for foreign affairs denied all accusations against the state, saying it had "absolutely nothing to do" with the 'National Enquirer' story. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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