Jeff Bezos Could Have Been One Of The Richest Men In History If He Hadn’t Divorced Mackenzie Scott Without A Prenup — Here’s What Those Amazon Shares Would Be Worth Today

Feb 13, 2024
jeff-bezos-could-have-been-one-of-the-richest-men-in-history-if-he-hadn’t-divorced-mackenzie-scott-without-a-prenup-—-here’s-what-those-amazon-shares-would-be-worth-today Inc. Founder Jeff Bezos’s financial trajectory has been a subject of speculation and analysis, particularly in the context of his 2019 divorce from MacKenzie Scott.

At the time of their separation, Bezos was the wealthiest individual globally, with a net worth of $150 billion, primarily due to his 16% ownership in Amazon, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

This event marked a significant shift in the distribution of wealth at the pinnacle of global affluence, as the division of such a massive fortune was unprecedented.

As of February, Forbes real-time data reports Jeff Bezos’ wealth is estimated at $191 billion, positioning him near the top of the list of the world’s richest people, a slight margin behind Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, whose net worth is $199 billion. The ranking comes with a caveat. A recent legal decision invalidated $56 billion in options Tesla awarded Musk in 2018, potentially affecting his net worth and standing. Despite this, Musk’s financial status remains unchanged because of the possibility of an appeal. Both men trail behind Bernard Arnault and his family, who oversee the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton empire, with a net worth of $217.6 billion.

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The scenario presents an intriguing “what if” regarding Bezos’s financial standing had he not divorced. Before their divorce, Bezos’s 16% stake in Amazon was valued at $150 billion. Following the divorce and subsequent financial decisions, including significant sales of Amazon stock to fund his Blue Origin space venture, Bezos’s share in the company decreased to approximately 10%. These transactions, coupled with the divorce settlement that transferred a 4% stake in Amazon to Scott, have substantially altered Bezos’s potential net worth.

Had Bezos maintained his full share in Amazon, without the divorce and without liquidating portions of his stock, his wealth could have been significantly higher. With Amazon’s market cap now at around $1.8 trillion, a 16% stake would equate to $288 billion. This hypothetical figure surpasses the wealth of other billionaires, including Musk, Arnault, Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Corp. Co-Founder Bill Gates, positioning Bezos as potentially the richest person in history.

In exploring financial “what ifs,” you cannot help but speculate how Gates, had he “diamond-handed” his Microsoft shares, might have become the first trillionaire. Initially holding 49% of Microsoft, which slightly reduced to 45% after its initial public offering in 1986, Gates’s stake in the tech behemoth, based on its current $2.8 trillion market capitalization, would be valued at an astronomical $1.23 trillion today. This speculative analysis offers a glimpse into an alternate reality where Gates’s hold on his Microsoft shares could have cemented his status as the richest man in history and reshaped the global wealth hierarchy.

Although purely hypothetical, the analysis highlights the dynamic nature of billionaire rankings, where legal, personal and business developments can dramatically alter the landscape.

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