Amazon founder Jeff Bezos keeps voting power in divorce settlement

Mr Bezos, who now owns 12% of Amazon, will continue to be the online retailer’s largest shareholder.

Amazon's founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos Source: Bloomberg

Tech giant Amazon Inc's chief executive Jeff Bezos will be keeping voting control of his company in the divorce settlement with his wife, Mackenzie Bezos, the couple announced on Thursday, putting an end to the uncertainty over Mr Bezos’ voting control in the firm in the biggest divorce settlement in history.

Mackenzie Bezos will be taking a 4% stake in Amazon, which will be worth roughly US$36 billion, according to a regulatory filing from Amazon. This will be after the court approves of the divorce, which is expected to occur in around 90 days.

Mr Bezos, who now owns 12% of Amazon, is the online retailer’s largest shareholder.

He will keep the sole voting authority over the shares unless Mackenzie Bezos donates them to a non-profit or sell them in the open market.

The divorce was filed in Washington state, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Mr Bezos, 55, and MacKenzie Bezos, 48, a novelist, married in 1993 and have four children.

Under the settlement, Mackenzie Bezos will give up her stake in the Washington Post, and rocket firm Blue Origin, which was founded by Mr Bezos in 2013, and 2000, respectively.

Amazon has a market capitalization value of about US$890 billion.

Bezos still the world’s richest man at a net worth of US$110 billion

After the divorce, Mr Bezos, would retain the spot as the world’s richest man with an estimated fortune of US$110 billion, Forbes said, which will place him ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett.

Prior to the divorce, Mr Bezos was said to have a fortune of US$160 billion due to his shares in Amazon. Almost 95% of Mr Bezos’ net worth is tied to the e-commerce colossus, so the performance of Amazon’s stock has a direct and significant impact on his wealth.

Observers were initially concerned that the divorce could lead to uncertainty to Mr Bezos’ controlling shares in the firm, or that the divorce could lead to the liquidation of large positions in the tech company.

Last year, Amazon’s stock has seen quite a bullish performance, having risen by more than 40% since December 29, 2017’s price of US$1,169.47.

For this year, the stock has risen by around 18% year-to-date.

Amazon’s share price closed lower on Thursday by 0.10% or US$1.84, at US$1,818.86.


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