The Slatest

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Agree to Gigantic Divorce Settlement

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos on Jan. 6, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos on Jan. 6, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his former partner MacKenzie Bezos announced Thursday that the couple had agreed to a divorce settlement that brings to a close the high-profile uncoupling after 25 years of marriage and, crucially for all Prime subscribers, divides up their $143 billion stake in Amazon. Under the agreement, Jeff Bezos will maintain a 12 percent stake in the company he founded in 1994 and MacKenzie, who worked as an accountant and helped negotiate contracts in the company’s infancy, will assume a 4 percent share, worth roughly $36 billion, of the $890 billion company. The divvying up of Amazon assets makes MacKenzie the third richest woman in the world, while Jeff Bezos will remain the world’s richest human, according to Forbes.

The settlement left Jeff Bezos firmly in control of the online retailer, a question that had rattled investors when the pair announced their split earlier this year, as he maintains sole voting power over the entirety of the couple’s combined Amazon holdings, the largest in single stake in the company. As part of the deal, MacKenzie will relinquish her interests in the Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos bought in 2013 for $250 million, as well as the rocket company Blue Origin. Under Washington state law, MacKenzie Bezos would likely be entitled to half of the couple’s marital assets, which the settlement appears to fall well short of. Still, for perspective, Reuters notes “MacKenzie Bezos’ stake in Amazon is worth more than the market values of nearly 70 percent of the components of the S&P 500.”

It remains unclear how the couple’s other holdings, such as stakes in companies like Airbnb and Uber, will be allocated. In addition to these investments, Jeff Bezos’ “Bezos Expeditions venture firm has invested in tech firms, including trucking startup Convoy and human resources software firm Workday, as well as Business Insider. He has also financed a multi-million dollar project to build a clock that could run for 10,000 years, located on a Texas ranch the former couple owns,” the Washington Post notes. “Also undisclosed is how the couple may divide their real estate holdings which include mansions in Bellevue, Wash., and Beverly Hills; the largest private home in Washington, D.C.; the Texas ranch; and multiple condos in New York City; worth tens of millions of dollars in aggregate.”

The marriage and assets are expected to be formally split in about 90 days following court approval of the divorce.