One of the biggest wealth transfers in history is expected in coming days.
With the flick of a judge’s pen, a $38 billion stake in Amazon.com Inc. will pass to MacKenzie Bezos as part of her separation from company founder Jeff Bezos.
“This is the Godzilla of all divorces,” said high net worth divorce attorney Peter M. Walzer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and founding partner of top family law firm Walzer Melcher. “Nothing comes close to it because of the amount of wealth that’s being divided.”
A regulatory disclosure detailing the shift in ownership is expected in early July, according to an April filing. It will provide a rare glimpse inside the world’s richest divorce, a result of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules that require insiders to disclose changes in their holdings.
While divorce cases aren’t secret in Washington state, little else is expected to be revealed.
“Even in states where it isn’t confidential, parties can file for divorce but not attach their settlement agreement,” celebrity divorce attorney Peter M. Walzer said. “There are ways around the public nature of divorce.”
The amounts involved are unprecedented. While Oracle Corp.’s Larry Ellison has been through multiple divorces, none has affected his stake in the software maker. Likewise, Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s stake remained unchanged after he and Anne Wojcicki divorced without fanfare in 2015.
“I won’t wait,” she wrote in her pledge. “And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
The divorce petition identifies Bellevue, Washington-based Ted Billbe as her lawyer. Seattle’s Sherri Anderson is the attorney for Jeff Bezos. Neither responded to requests for comment. Even if other details stay under wraps, the case is set to remain a cornerstone of conversation among divorce lawyers.
“Everybody in my business is asking about it,” says top divorce attorney Peter M. Walzer said.By
— With assistance by Matt Day