Amazon Voting Shares Will Remain With CEO Jeff Bezos After Divorce
Earlier this past January the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos announced they would be filing for divorce. The Bezos fortune is comprised of Amazon stock primarily as the couple owns about 16 percent of the outstanding common stock of the company.
Today the two announced that they have agreed upon divorce terms: MacKenzie will walk away from the 25+ year marriage with quite the alimony, $35 billion in net assets including a 4 percent share of Amazon.
— MacKenzie Bezos (@mackenziebezos) April 4, 2019
Amazon shareholder voting rights will not transfer to MacKenzie Bezos
The kicker here is that while Mrs. Bezos will retain 25 percent of the jointly owned shares, these shares will come with a huge caveat. Mr. Bezos will hold on to the voting power of the stock and the deal is permanent, at no point in the future can she take the voting shares back. As an aside to that, should MacKenzie decide to liquidate some into cash, whichever buyer that takes them off her hands will have to enter into an agreement with Amazon’s CEO to continue the voting arrangement onwards.
Also as part of the deal, Jeff will maintain his current ownership stake in both Blue Origin as well as his wholly owned news outlet, The Washington Post.
As a result, Jeff Bezos will be able to continue to run Amazon as he sees fit with no interference from his soon to be ex-spouse.
Overall, this is a big win not just for Amazon itself but also its shareholders. Mr. Bezos has overseen one of the most dramatic success stories the world has ever seen, commercially speaking, and one would be hard-pressed to find a major investor who doesn’t have faith in the founder and CEO of the world’s largest e-commerce company.
Investors may now continue to buy into Amazon without fear that the company’s leadership landscape may change unexpectedly and when it comes to Wall Street, fewer ‘unknowns’ is always a good thing.