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Amazon founder-CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, announced yesterday on Twitter that they are divorcing.

“After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” they said, adding that they “see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures … Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends.”

Bloomberg writes that “while Wall Street took the announcement in stride, investors will be watching to see if the divorce settlement affects Bezos’s control of Amazon. So long as the company is growing and returning profits, he’ll probably maintain their confidence, though a settlement could potentially put a dent in such Bezos side projects as the space exploration company Blue Origin.”

Washington is a community property state, which means that unless there is a pre-nup, post-nup or some other negotiated agreement, MacKenzie Bezos is going to be entitled to half of everything Jeff Bezos has.

“Bezos, 54, is worth $137 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people,” Bloomberg writes. “He owns about 16 percent of the retailer as well as the Washington Post and Blue Origin … A divorce could reshape the global wealth ranking. If the couple split their fortune equally, it could leave MacKenzie, 48, with $69 billion, making her the world’s richest woman.”

However, most of Bezos’ wealth is said to be in Amazon stock, which makes the divorce - and whatever settlement the two people come to - of considerable interest from a business point of view.
KC's View:
Never written a divorce story on MNB before, I think. Can’t say this gives me any pleasure … there’s nothing fun about chronicling the dissolution of a marriage, which has to be emotionally painful no matter how much money you have and how cherished you think your friendship can continue to be. I hope that whatever happens, it is as amicable and out of public view as possible … if for no other reason than there are four kids involved.

Plus, it has been a kind of fairy tale story - two nice kids meet while working at a New York hedge fund, and then like pioneers venture out to the Pacific Northwest to start up a little business, with nothing but dreams and goals and the willingness to work hard and maybe change the world a little bit.

Selfishly, I just hope that the divorce has no impact on Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post, where his investment in journalism has given that paper the ability to innovate and grow.