Yes, it's a soulless, grotesque question. But it's all about money, and investors are wondering if Jeff Bezos getting divorced means they're gonna lose money.
Shares in Amazon inc “seesawed” on Thursday as questions swirled around Jeff Bezos's impending divorce, and any potential effect on his control of Wall Street's most valuable company, which is expanding like crazy around the U.S.
Bezos, whom Forbes lists as the world’s richest person, worth an estimated $136.2 billion, said via Twitter on Wednesday that he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, will divorce. Amazon shares were down 0.5 percent in afternoon trading on Thursday, after gaining earlier in the session.
The split throws into question how the couple will split their fortune, which includes an approximately 16 percent ownership stake in Amazon’s roughly $811.4 billion market capitalization. Divorce laws in Washington state, where they live, hold that property acquired during a marriage is generally divided equally between spouses.
Most analysts and fund managers are largely sanguine and say the divorce will not lead to any significant change in the company’s leadership or its growth prospects.
Prominent short-seller Doug Kass, however, who runs hedge fund Seabreeze Partners, said he sold his stake in Amazon on news of the divorce. That was after initially buying a stake in late December and naming Amazon among his “best ideas list.”
“Is it premature to ask what happens to Amazon when Jeff Bezos chooses to turn over the day-to-day running of the company he founded?” he said. “His announced divorce gives me pause for thought.”
Jeff and MacKenzie have homes in various U.S. states. Depending on which state they choose to file for divorce in, their property, including all that Amazon stock, may be required to be divided differently under state law.
That's where things get interesting for speculations about the impact on stock price.