Google Co-Founder, 6th Richest Person in the World, Files For Divorce
The third mega-billionaire in as many years to file for divorce is Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and the sixth-richest person in the world. He and his wife of three years have been married for three years.
According to court filings, Brin petitioned for the divorce of his marriage to Nicole Shanahan this month, alleging “irreconcilable differences,” The couple, who share a three-year-old boy, took measures to keep the specifics of the divorce quiet and asked the court to seal the paperwork.
According to the filing in Santa Clara, California, “Because of the high profile nature of their relationship, there is likely to be significant public interest in their dissolution case and any potential child custody issues,”
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Google, the company that Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-founded in 1998 and later combined to establish the holding company Alphabet Inc., has contributed significantly to Brin’s $94 billion wealth. He and Page both left Alphabet in 2019, but they continue to serve on the board and possess the majority of the company’s shares.
Brin’s first union, with the co-founder of 23andMe Anne Wojcicki, ended in divorce in 2015.
Three years have passed since Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott’s divorce, and a year has passed after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates declared the end of their union. At the time, Bezos and Scott had a $137 billion wealth at risk in their divorce, whereas Gates and French Gates had a $145 billion fortune to divide.
Since their relationship started long after Brin became a billionaire, it’s likely that the two had a prenuptial agreement, according to Monica Mazzei, a partner at Sideman & Bancroft LLP in San Francisco.
But she said that “we will never know the details” of the divorce because the matter is being managed by a private judge.
The divorce settlement may also take into account philanthropy, according to Mazzei. Shanahan founded the Bia-Echo Foundation, which, according to its website, is dedicated to “longevity and equality, criminal justice reform and a healthy and livable planet,” The foundation’s most recent accessible tax form from 2019 shows that it had assets of $16.7 million and had given out $7.4 million in awards.
According to Mazzei, assistance for an ex-philanthropy spouse is frequently included in divorce settlements since it benefits both parties: The grantor receives a tax deduction, while the grantee gains control over their charitable giving. According to the tax form, Brin was the only donor to the foundation who gave a gift of more than $23 million in that year.
A call seeking comment from a representative of the Bia-Echo Foundation went unanswered.
Since her divorce from Bezos, Scott has established herself as the world’s most active philanthropist, donating billions of dollars to a variety of charities thanks to the 4% share in Amazon.com Inc. that she ultimately acquired in 2019.
The Gateses’ attention has also shifted to charities since their divorce. The former couple, unlike Scott and Bezos, had already established themselves as major givers through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and there were concerns about how their departure would impact the $50 billion charity machine.
Since then, French Gates has shifted her focus to Pivotal Ventures, a philanthropic investment company she founded in 2015 with the goal of adopting “innovative solutions to problems affecting U.S. women and families.”
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