- Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, suffered a decline of more than $US10 billion in his net worth in 2019, according to Bloomberg.
- The loss is mainly down to his divorce from MacKenzie Bezos, which led to a settlement in which she received Amazon stock worth more than $US35 billion.
- MacKenzie Bezos became one of the world’s wealthiest women after the split.
- Overall 2019 has been a good year for the incredibly wealthy. Only two of the 50 wealthiest billionaires suffered a net loss.
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Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, lost more money than almost any other billionaire in 2019, but he remained the richest person in the world.
At $US115 billion, Bezos’ net worth is down $US10.1 billion this year, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index as of Tuesday.
The decline was the second-largest on the list, just smaller than that suffered by the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose net worth more than halved. It fell by $US10.2 billion, to $US7.8 billion from $US18 billion.
Bezos’ loss can be accounted for by the cost of his separation from MacKenzie Bezos, his wife of 26 years. The two announced their separation in January.
In a divorce settlement finalised in July, the couple divided their Amazon shares, with 75% going to Jeff Bezos and 25% to MacKenzie Bezos.
The settlement took an enormous chunk out of Bezos’ reported net worth, which peaked in excess of $US165 billion in late 2018, according to Bloomberg.
It also created a new, independent billionaire in MacKenzie Bezos, who ended the year in 25th place on the Bloomberg index with $US37.1 billion to her name. She is the fifth-richest woman on the list.
Such is the scale of Amazon’s and Bezos’ wealth that the notionally private development of their marriage ending was ultimately one of the most significant financial events of 2019.
The $US37.1 billion wealth transfer between the Bezoses is a little larger than the entire $US35.1 billion gross domestic product of Latvia, an Eastern European nation with about 1.9 million inhabitants.
According to Bloomberg’s index, 2019 was overall a good year for the extremely wealthy.
Only two people in the top 50 - Jeff Bezos and the Chinese real-estate billionaire Hui Ka Yan - experienced a decline in their net worth.
Tech moguls featured prominently among the winners, with sharp increases for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (up $US26 billion), the Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates (up $US22.7 billion), and the Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (up $US13.3 billion and $US12.8 billion).