- Billionaire couple Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos announced their divorce on Wednesday, a split that will likely change the rankings of the world's richest people.
- MacKenzie could be entitled to half of Jeff's $137 billion fortune because they live in Washington state, where assets acquired during a marriage are split 50-50.
- But even if the couple doesn't split their assets evenly, MacKenzie might still overtake Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, whose net worth is $45.6 billion, as the world's richest woman.
- MacKenzie needs to come away with only 33.4% of the $137 billion to become the new richest woman in the world.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, have said they will divorce.
- Their separation of assets could affect the Amazon CEO's ranking among the richest people in the world.
- If MacKenzie Bezos acquired half of Jeff Bezos' $137 billion fortune — a possible outcome of a divorce settlement — the two would be tied at No. 4 on the list with $68.5 billion each.
- MacKenzie Bezos would easily become the richest woman in the world.
- Bill Gates, the world's second-richest person, has an estimated net worth of $94.8 billion, according to Forbes.
- While he indulges in a few luxuries, they make up only a fraction of his fortune.
- He mainly spends his billions on charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and plans to give away most of his fortune.
- Jim Pattison, who has a reported net worth of $5.9 billion, has been called "Canada's Warren Buffett."
- Like Buffett, Pattison is the third-richest person in his country, is relatively frugal, and donates heavily to philanthropy.
- But Pattison can also be a little lavish — he owns a $25 million yacht and a fleet of jets.
MacKenzie Bezos could be poised to become the world's richest woman.
Her husband, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is the richest person in the world, with a fortune of $137 billion, and she'll likely be walking away with a good chunk of that after their divorce, which they announced on Wednesday.
Given that Jeff founded Amazon after they got married, MacKenzie could be entitled to half of the fortune he made from Amazon.
Jeff and MacKenzie live in Washington state, one of nine US states where everything acquired throughout the marriage — from real estate to income — is considered joint property. That means their assets could be split 50-50, unlike in the other 41 states, where a marital estate is made up of assets acquired under each spouse's name and isn't considered joint property unless both names are on the deed, as Business Insider previously reported.
If MacKenzie walked away from the divorce settlement with exactly half of Jeff's fortune, that would make her worth an estimated $68.5 billion — and the richest woman in the world by nearly $23 billion.
But Melisse G. Burstein, a Miami certified public accountant who specializes in accounting in high stakes litigation, said it's not likely the billionaire couple will end up splitting assets 50-50.
"Because much of Jeff Bezos' net worth is tied up in Amazon stock, it would be difficult to figure out how to get the wife 50%," Burstein told Business Insider. "I believe dividing the shares in the company could result in Jeff Bezos' control of Amazon being diluted. This would be against MacKenzie Bezos' interest as it has the potential of devaluing the company and thus devaluing the amount the individual shares are worth."
If the couple signed a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, that would overrule state law, Michael Stutman, a New York divorce attorney, told Business Insider.
Given the couple's vast wealth and assets, it's likely they have some sort of marital financial agreement.
The billionaire couple owns a nearly 29,000-square-foot estate outside of Seattle, Washington, as well as two neighboring Beverly Hills mansions, a Texas ranch, the largest house in Washington, DC, and a set of four condos in New York City.
The richest woman in the world
It's unknown whether Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos signed a postnuptial agreement. But MacKenzie could walk away with significantly less than 50% of the $137 billion and still become the richest woman in the world. That title is held by Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who controls 33% of L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics-maker, and who is worth $45.6 billion, according to Bloomberg.
If MacKenzie comes away with even 33.4% of her husband's $137 billion fortune, she would still be worth a staggering $45.7 billion, edging out Bettencourt Meyers.
However, if Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos end up dividing their assets, the business of two billionaires getting divorced is a complicated one. Super-wealthy couples often have to deal with complex and illiquid assets, company issues, and public perception, divorce attorneys say.
For this particular couple, the question of Amazon shares complicates matters even further.
The amount MacKenzie will walk away with will be "dependent on how the divorce terms are structured and whether it is feasible for Mackenzie to acquire Amazon shares without diluting Jeff's control of the company,"Burstein said.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos could find himself dropping a few spots on the list of the world's richest people soon.
And his soon-to-be ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos might rocket up the list.
Jeff Bezos sits atop the list of the world's richest people with a fortune of $137 billion. If MacKenzie Bezos acquires exactly half of that in a divorce settlement, a possible outcome, considering Washington's divorce laws and their reported lack of a prenuptial agreement, that would leave both people with $68.5 billion each.
In that scenario, Jeff Bezos would fall to the No. 4 spot on the list of the world's richest people, according to Bloomberg's real-time billionaire index. MacKenzie Bezos, who is currently unranked, would join him there.
A net worth of $68.5 billion would land the Bezoses just ahead of Amancio Ortega, a Spanish fashion retailer with a net worth of $62.2 billion, and one spot below France's Bernard Arnault, also a fashion retailer, whose net worth is $72.2 billion.
Bill Gates would regain his title as the world's richest person, a distinction he held for more than two decades, from the 1990s until Jeff Bezos overtook him last year. Gates' fortune is estimated at $93 billion.
Second on the list would be investor Warren Buffett, who has a fortune of $80.8 billion.
Meanwhile, a 50-50 payout for MacKenzie Bezos would easily make her the richest woman in the world, surpassing the $45.7 billion net worth of L'Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who ranks 11th on the overall list.
Forbes releases its annual list of billionaires every March. Should her divorce be finalized by then, MacKenzie Bezos could make her debut on the list.
Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, is the world's second-richest person, sitting on an estimated net worth of about $95 billion, according to Forbes.
It's hard to imagine what to do with that amount of money, but Gates knows how to make the most of it. While he has some indulgences — like a Washington estate worth $125 million, a private airplane, and a luxury-car collection — they make up only a fraction of his massive fortune.
He and wife, Melinda, previously said it's unfair they're so rich. Instead of spending billions on themselves, they often donate it to charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They've also pledged to give away most of their fortune through the Giving Pledge, which they launched in 2010.
See how Gates spends his billions.
Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of about $95 billion, making him the world's second-richest person.
If he spent $1 million a day, it would take him more than 245 years to spend his fortune. Here's how he spends his money.
Gates has invested in a variety of stocks and assets and launched a $1 billion investment fund, Breakthrough Energy, with 20 others.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Known as "Canada's Warren Buffett," Pattison, 90, has a net worth of $5.9 billion, according to Forbes. It may not even graze Buffett's $8o billion net worth, but it ranks him as the third-richest man in Canada — equivalent to Buffett's seat as the third-richest man in America.
Also like Buffett, Pattinson is relatively frugal. Born during the Great Depression, he had humble beginnings that stuck with him even as he created and developed a giant conglomerate, The Jim Pattison Group, of 200-plus companies worth more than $7 billion today. He also donates heavily to philanthropy.
But that doesn't mean he doesn't indulge in a few lavish purchases. While he might have a Toyota truck parked in his garage, he also has a $25 million yacht docked not far away.
Here, see how Pattison earns and spends his billions.
Jim Pattison, Canada's third-richest man, has a reported net worth of $5.9 billion.
But Pattison wasn't always worth billions — his net worth is even more impressive considering his beginnings. He was born during the Great Depression and grew up poor, wearing hand-me-downs and living in "Vancouver's gritty east side."
Pattison began practicing the art of business at age 7, selling seeds door-to-door. He eventually progressed to selling newspapers and playing trumpet at church picnics.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider