Jeff Bezos: World’s richest man agrees $35bn divorce


(BBC): The world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie have agreed on a record-breaking divorce settlement of at least $35bn (£27bn). Ms Bezos keeps a 4% stake in the online retail giant, worth $35.6bn on its own. Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in Seattle in 1994, a year after the couple married, and Ms Bezos was one of its first employees.

Both parties tweeted positive comments about the other in the wake of the announced settlement. The two did not provide any further financial details about the settlement. The Amazon shares alone will make Ms Bezos the world’s third-richest woman while Jeff will remain the world’s richest person, according to Forbes.

Jeff Bezos, 55, and MacKenzie, 48, a novelist, married in 1993 and have four children. Ms Bezos’ tweet is her first and only one since joining the microblogging website this month. In it she stated that she was “grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage to Jeff with support from each other”.

Prior to the settlement, Mr Bezos held a 16.3% stake in Amazon. He will retain 75% of that holding but Ms Bezos has transferred all of her voting rights to her former husband. She will also give up her interests in the Washington Post newspaper and Mr Bezos’ space travel firm Blue Origin. Amazon is now vast online retail business.

Last year, it generated sales of $232.8bn and it has helped Mr Bezos and his family amass a fortune of $131bn, according to Forbes magazine.

Ms Bezos is a successful novelist who has written two books, The Testing of Luther Albright and Traps. She was taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison at Princeton University, who once said of her pupil that she was “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative-writing classes… really one of the best”.

Mr Bezos is reportedly in a relationship with former Fox TV host Lauren Sánchez. After Mr Bezos and his wife announced in January that they would part, a US tabloid magazine published details, including private messages, of an extramarital affair with Ms Sánchez.

Mr Bezos has accused the publisher of the magazine, American Media Incorporated, of blackmail. The publisher denies the claim. The divorce deal dwarfs a previous $3.8bn record set in 1999 by art dealer Alec Wildenstein and his wife Jocelyn, who became well-known for her cosmetic surgery. Other notable costly divorces

Rupert Murdoch: The media tycoon was ordered to pay his second wife Anna Torv $1.7bn when their marriage ended in 1998. Mel Gibson: The actor split his net worth of some $850m with his wife of nearly 30 years when they separated in 2009.

Madonna: The US singer paid her ex-husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, $92m to settle their divorce after eight years of marriage in 2008. Silvio Berlusconi: The former Italian prime minister agreed to pay his estranged wife Veronica Lario €36m (£30m) a year when they divorced in 2012.

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