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Jeff Bezos, Amazon C.E.O., and MacKenzie Bezos Finalize Divorce Details

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, said on Twitter on Thursday that they had finalized the details of their divorce.

Mr. Bezos will keep 75 percent of the couple’s Amazon stock and all of their ownership of The Washington Post and the Blue Origin space company, Ms. Bezos wrote. Mr. Bezos will also have “sole voting authority” over Ms. Bezos’ Amazon shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After the divorce, Ms. Bezos will own roughly 4 percent of Amazon, a stake that was worth almost $ 36 billion on Thursday. By keeping 75 percent of the couple’s Amazon shares, or about 12 percent of the company, Mr. Bezos will most likely remain the richest person in the world. His remaining stake in the company was worth almost $ 108 billion on Thursday. (Bill Gates, the second wealthiest, is worth $ 102 billion, according to Bloomberg.)

Experts had said that in Washington State, where Amazon is based and where the couple have been raising their four children, Ms. Bezos was entitled to roughly half of their assets. They have other investments and properties across the United States. The details of divorce settlements are not public, and theirs could contain other compensation for Ms. Bezos.

Ms. Bezos wrote on Twitter on Thursday that she was “excited about my own plans,” without providing details. She has historically kept a low profile, focusing on her work as a novelist and on raising the couple’s children.

Amazon declined to comment.

Their divorce filing caps four months of the kind of public drama that Amazon and its founder have long eschewed.

The couple announced their plan to split on Twitter in early January, saying that “after a long period of loving exploration and a trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.” The news came as a surprise. Just a few months earlier they were spotted in a Miami nightclub celebrating their 25th anniversary.

After the news initially sent Amazon shares down, investors brushed it away, and the price rebounded.

But the relatively quiet disclosure took on new life a day later when The National Enquirer reported that Mr. Bezos was romantically involved with Lauren Sanchez, a former Los Angeles TV anchor. The tabloid published photos of the two together as well as intimate text messages.

Since then, Mr. Bezos and American Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer, have been embroiled in a public feud.

Mr. Bezos published emails from American Media that he said amounted to “extortion and blackmail.” He said the company had threatened to publish more embarrassing details, including a “below the belt selfie” that he had sent Ms. Sanchez. He insinuated that the leaks could have been politically motivated to harm him because of his ownership of The Washington Post. American Media denied those accusations.

On Saturday, Mr. Bezos’ security consultant wrote an opinion article for The Daily Beast that said his team had “concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information.” He said the Saudis had targeted Mr. Bezos because of the newspaper’s reporting on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, one of its columnists, who United States officials believe was killed on the orders of the Saudi crown prince.

Mr. Bezos’ consultant did not provide direct evidence of the accusation, nor did he say whether the Saudis had provided information to The Enquirer.

American Media flatly denied any Saudi involvement. It said that Ms. Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, was the “sole source” of its investigation, and that “there was no involvement by any other third party whatsoever.”

A Saudi official also said Saudi Arabia “categorically rejects all allegations” of being involved in the matter.

Despite all the drama, the Bezos divorce moved quickly, did not resort to court and was announced in unison.

“This is an example of how you would want to handle this kind of situation if you were a public figure,” said Jennifer Payseno, a divorce lawyer who works with wealthy families in the Seattle area, where the Bezoses live.

“They are intertwined financially, so anything that helps him succeed helps her and vice versa,” Ms. Payseno said.

After filing for divorce on Thursday, under state law the Bezoses must wait 90 days to submit their divorce decree to a court for approval.

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NYT > Technology

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