founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, and his wife, MacKenzie, are divorcing after 25 years.

"After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," according to a tweet Wednesday that both of them signed.

The couple met when they worked at hedge fund D.E. Shaw, and married in 1993. He founded Amazon a year later. Bezos, 54, is worth US$137 billion (NZ$200 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 wealthiest individuals.

A divorce could reshape the wealth rankings. If the couple split their fortune equally, it could leave MacKenzie, 48, with US$69 billion, making her the world's richest woman. It could also make Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates the planet's richest person once again.


The state of Washington - where Amazon is based and the couple have a home - is a community property state, which means all property and debt acquired during a marriage "will be divided equitably by the court if the couple cannot negotiate an agreement," according to the website of McKinley Irvin, a family law firm in the region.

The couple has lived in Seattle since 1994. They have four children.