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MacKenzie Bezos, with $35 billion, is now the world’s third-wealthiest woman

How exactly will she spend her money?

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.
Jeff and MacKenzie in happier days.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

MacKenzie Bezos will be one of the world’s most interesting billionaires.

The now ex-wife of the richest person in the world will oversee more than $35 billion in assets as she finalizes her divorce from her husband. And while this makes her the world’s third-wealthiest woman, she’s possibly leaving money on the table: MacKenzie Bezos said Thursday that she would only take about 25 percent of their shares in Amazon as part of the arrangement, and is ceding any claim to equity in the Washington Post, owned by the family, and Blue Origin, the space exploration company founded by Bezos.

Their split, while personal, is under the microscope given that it could possibly affect the ambitions of the world’s wealthiest couple. The two have said they still plan to work together on philanthropic projects — to which they arrive much belated — but obviously it will now be more complicated. The divorce could have affected Amazon’s corporate governance, although it’s not obvious that it would actually affect business operations in any meaningful way.

Jeff Bezos is retaining her voting rights, she said, but she’ll control about 4 percent of the company, according to a new SEC filing posted Thursday.

“Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reached out to us in kindness, and look forward to next phase as co-parents and friends,” MacKenzie Bezos said in a tweet — her first-ever tweet from an account seemingly created for the occasion.

If MacKenzie Bezos had emerged with half of Jeff Bezos’s Amazon stock, she would’ve also became the world’s wealthiest woman. She’ll now trail Francoise Bettencourt Meyers of the L’Oreal family and Alice Walton of the Walmart family, according to Forbes’ latest calculations, but still be among the 25 wealthiest people in the world.

MacKenzie Bezos is a novelist but has been a fairly behind-the-scenes figure — similar to, until recently, her husband. A big question in the philanthropy world these days is how exactly MacKenzie Bezos will spend her fortune.

Amazon’s last filing with the SEC in August showed that Jeff Bezos owned about 78.9 million shares of the company. Based on Amazon’s current stock price of over $1,800 a share, he should still have over $100 billion in total net worth and remain the world’s richest person.

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