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$130 billion divorce: Bezos tweets split

LAS VEGAS: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said he and his wife MacKenzie have decided to divorce after 25 years of marriage.

Seen here in happier times, Jeff Bezos (left) announced on Twitter he and wife are planning a divorce. (AP photo)

Bezos, one of the world's richest men, made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday. An Amazon spokesman confirmed the divorce.

The two married in 1993 after they met at hedge fund DE Shaw in New York, where they both worked. They left New York on a road trip to Amazon's eventual headquarters in Seattle, with her driving and him writing up the business plan for what would become the world's largest online retailer.

Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth more than $130 billion, announced last year that he and his wife were setting up a $2 billion charitable fund to open pre-schools in low-income neighbourhoods and give money to non-profits that help homeless families.

A note posted on Bezos' Twitter account Wednesday said the two of them will remain "cherished friends," as well as "partners" in ventures and projects. They have four children together.

"If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again," said the note, which was signed "Jeff & MacKenzie".

Reuters reports: According to Refinitiv Eikon data, MacKenzie does not hold any Amazon shares directly. Bezos has a 16.1% stake in the company worth about $130 billion.

Liat Sadler, a San Francisco matrimonial lawyer, noted that spouses owe a fiduciary duty to one another.

"They have duties not to waste or devalue marital resources, and to keep the value of marital property as high as possible," she said. "I don't think there is an issue of concern for shareholders as to what will happen to Amazon because of the divorce."

Sadler said the main options facing the couple regarding Amazon stock were for Jeff Bezos to buy out his wife or for MacKenzie Bezos to retain shares.

"If she trusts that he would manage Amazon well, either he should pay her for her share of the stock, or they could enter a more complicated agreement where she keeps stock and he keeps voting rights," she said.

It is unlikely that many details of the divorce will become public, said New York lawyer Bernard Clair, who is representing Judith Giuliani in her divorce from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"These two have been separated for a not insignificant time, and I would assume ... they would have used the time to reach a private, confidential agreement," Clair said.

Speaking at an event in Berlin last April, Jeff Bezos said MacKenzie's support was instrumental when he founded Amazon.

"When you have loving and supportive people in your life, like MacKenzie, my parents, my grandfather, my grandmother, you end up being able to take risks," he said at the event.

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