Hurricane Lauren brings Amazon boss to his knees
The divorce is expected to alter the global wealth rankings. Jeff will lose his number 1 ranking among the world’s richest men, while MacKenzie will become the world’s richest woman.
Jeff’s affair with former TV Host Lauren Sanchez is being cited as the major reason for the separation.
Media reports on sexually explicit texts and pictures sent by Jeff to Lauren have complicated matters for amazon’s top boss.
A quiet and amicable settlement is the best way out, especially for Jeff Bezos as he has more to lose.
Marriages are made in heaven. But divorces can prove to be even more heavenly, if you happen to be MacKenzie Bezos, the wife of Jeff Bezos, Founder, Chairman, President and CEO, Amazon, and the richest man in the world with a net worth of US$ 137 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Jeff made this earth-shaking announcement on Twitter on Wednesday, stating that the two had decided to divorce and stay on as friends after “a long period of loving exploration and trial separation”. The statement was not sparing on pleasantries, saying that the couple felt fortunate to have found each other” and would do it again even if they had known that they would separate after 25 years.
The truth of the matter is not so pleasant though, as reports claim that the divorce is attributed to Jeff’s romantic involvement with former ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ host Lauren Sanchez. A Mexican by descent, Sanchez is also the estranged wife of Patrick Whitesell, Hollywood agent and founding partner of William Morris Endeavour Entertainment. The couple separated in the summer of 2018 and is in the process of divorcing according to reports.
Sources reveal that Jeff and Lauren started connecting over last year after she separated with her husband, and both Patrick and MacKenzie were aware of the relationship since months. Media reports also reveal some lurid details, of Jeff flying off to exotic venues with his mistress on his US$ 65 million private jet and spending time with her at palatial private estates.
In a stunning lapse of judgment, he also shared ‘raunchy messages and erotic selfies’ with her via the internet! This is indeed a major cause of humiliation for the world’s richest man, who also claims to be a ‘family person. The reporters of the National Enquirer who have access to these pictures say that they are so shocking that they dare not print them.
US President Donald Trump inexplicably ‘predicted’ that the proceedings will be a beauty while wishing Jeff luck. Indeed, the divorce proceedings will be followed by millions across the world – not for relationship advice but for the final settlement that the couple will arrive at.
According to Washington state law, all property and debt acquired during a marriage “will be divided equitably by the court if the couple cannot negotiate an agreement”. A direct 50-50 split will make MacKenzie the world’s richest woman, overtaking L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, who has an estimated net worth of US$ 45.6 billion. Jeff on the other hand, could lose his number 1 position to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is currently second on the Bloomberg Index with total net worth of US$ 93.5 billion.
In terms of ownership of Amazon shares, Jeff has a 16.1% stake in Amazon while his wife has no direct ownership. According to San Francisco-based lawyer Liat Sadler, “They have duties not to waste or devalue marital resources, and to keep the value of marital property as high as possible.” According to Sadler, there are two options – Jeff could pay her for her share of the stock or if she trusts him to run Amazon well, she could retain the stock while the voting rights stay with Jeff.
In all probability, experts feel that the couple would plan a quiet and settlement that avoids legal expenses as well as unnecessary publicity that would also impact Amazon’s valuation. But according to family members, MacKinzie knows a lot about Jeff, and could use that as leverage to extract the best she can out of this divorce. His long lost biological aunt Kathy Jorgensen exclaimed, “MacKenzie will take him to the cleaners. She’ll get everything she wants being married that long… She knows the dirtiest secrets about him and he knows that. It’s going to be messy – unless he gives her everything she wants.”
So it will be a delicate balancing act for both. Jeff would like to settle quickly, considering the unpleasant leaks of his sexually explicit messages and pictures – more bad publicity could even harm his hard-earned respect as a tech tycoon and also his position at Amazon. MacKenzie would want to extract her pound of flesh, but certainly not at the cost of devaluing Amazon itself.
Ideally, Jeff should settle for what his wife wants and not risk a protracted settlement. His affair is already costing him a potentially whopping US$ 69 billion, making it perhaps the most expensive affair ever in global history. In a protracted settlement, he risks much more.
Economic Times has done an excellent coverage of the Jeff-MacKenzie divorce. You can view it here.