Jeff Bezos sells $1.8B worth of Amazon stock as ownership stake in tech giant drops to 12%

Jeff Bezos at Museum of Flight
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sold more than $1.8 billion of his company’s stock over the past few days, according to a series of regulatory filings.

The world’s richest person offloaded more than 900,000 shares for around $1,900 per share, leaving him with a 12 percent stake in the company, worth around $110 billion at Thursday’s market price. That’s down from a 16 percent ownership stake prior to his divorce settlement earlier this year.

The purpose of the stock sale wasn’t immediately clear. Bezos previously said that he would sell around $1 billion in stock each year to fund Blue Origin, his commercial space venture. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

Bezos also appears to have completed the majority of an expected 20 million share transfer to his ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos. The regulatory filings show that Jeff Bezos’ holdings fell from 78.8 million shares in February to 59.1 million shares before the latest stock sale.

As part of the divorce, the Amazon CEO planned to transfer 25 percent of his ownership in the company, but he retains voting authority for MacKenzie Bezos’ shares, effectively still giving him control of 16 percent of the company’s stock. He also maintains full ownership of The Washington Post and Blue Origin.

MacKenzie Bezos now owns 19.7 million shares of Amazon, a $37 billion stake that makes her 23rd richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg. Even after the transfer and sale, Jeff Bezos remains the world’s wealthiest person.

The couple has kept mostly quiet about the financial terms of their divorce. MacKenzie Bezos vowed to give away half her fortune to charity as part of The Giving Pledge, a philanthropic commitment that hundreds of the world’s wealthiest people have signed, including Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.