You may have heard that Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) is going through a divorce. He’s been married to his wife for 25 years, and he’s estimated to be worth approximately $139 billion.
While any divorce can have assets worth thousands or millions to divide, this is an extreme case. He is the richest person in modern history and that creates unique problems.
In this case, the majority of that money is held in Amazon’s stock. He has options when it comes to his wife’s share of those stocks, too. He has the option to buy her out, but his attorneys point out the difficulty. After all, they share 80 million stocks today.
It’s normal for business CEOs to buy out their spouses and to walk away with all the company’s shares. But in this case, their net worth is tied to the stocks themselves. Buying out too quickly has an impact on the company and the CEO’s power in the company. Not doing so leaves the spouse in a poor position, not receiving the assets they deserve.
Another option is always to co-own stocks and the company. In this case, it would allow the CEO to maintain voting rights, but his wife would maintain shares. This usually isn’t a great idea due to the fact that both parties have to continue working together in some way.
The third option is to sell stock, which would potentially threaten his ownership of Amazon and reduce control of the company. Although unlikely, it could be possible for Bezos to lose the company if he chose to sell his share of the stocks.
If you have a business and are going through a divorce, these are some of the decisions you may have to make, too. Working together with your spouse, selling your business or turning to other solutions may be the only way to move forward in your case.