Who Owns Amazon: The Largest Shareholders Overview

Article Teaser: Who Owns Amazon: The Largest Shareholders Overview

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) is a formidable company. It started as an e-commerce business selling stuff online, but it hardly made any money this way. Amazon makes money mainly by helping businesses sell goods online and providing cloud resources and tools. Do you know who owns Amazon and who controls it?

The largest shareholders that own Amazon are its founder Jeff Bezos, who owns a 9.7% share, asset manager Vanguard (7.0%), and asset manager BlackRock (5.8%). Jeff Bezos’s ex-wife MacKenzie Scott owns 2.6% of the company, but Jeff Bezos exercises all voting power of her stake.

 Amazon's Largest Shareholders (Dec 2022)
Shareholder Ownership Voting Power
Jeff Bezos 9.7% 12.3%
Vanguard 7.0% 7.0%
BlackRock 5.8% 5.8%
MacKenzie Scott 2.6% 0.0%
Other 74.9% 74.9%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

Who ows Amazon vs who controls it chart

In this article, I will dive more into who owns Amazon and who controls it. I will show you who Amazon’s largest shareholders are, how many shares and votes they have, and how much their stake is worth.

If you are interested, you can also check my older article with a visual overview of Amazon’s financial statements.

You can also explore who are the largest shareholders in other companies like Apple, Meta(Facebook), Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Tesla, or Nike.

📃 Who Owns Amazon?

Who owns Amazon, largest shareholders donut chart

Amazon is owned by its shareholders. The largest one is its founder Jeff Bezos, who owns 9.7% of the company. Other large owners are asset manager Vanguard with 7.0% ownership and BlackRock, with 5.8% share. The sizable individual owner is also MacKenzie Scott, with 2.6% ownership.

The largest owner of Amazon is its founder, chairman, and former CEO, Jeff Bezos, who owns 9.7% of the company.

  • Jeff Bezos’ stake is gradually decreasing throughout the years. The reason is that he is selling stocks to fund his other projects. Also, in 2019 his stake, although not voting power, dropped due to his divorce.
  • Jeff’s voting power is higher (12.3%) than his ownership stake (9.7%) because he excercises voting power also for shares owned by her wife.

Other large owners are asset managers Vanguard and Blackrock, who invest on behalf of other investors.

A sizable owner is also the ex-wife of the founder, MacKenzie Scott, who owns 2.6% of the company.

  • As part of MacKenzie and Jeff’s divorce in 2019, they agreed that from Jeff’s 16% stake at the time, MacKenzie would get 4%, and Jeff would be left with 12% and all voting power. That means Jeff would keep all voting rights, even for McKenzie’s stake, until she sells them.

Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos with significant financial help from his family. Amazon.com, Inc. has been a publicly listed since its initial public offering (IPO) on NASDAQ in 1997 (Ticker: AMZN).

  • When Amazon went public in 1997, Jeff Bezos’ share was 41%. On top of that, his family owned another 10% through several trusts.
  • Jeff Bezos’ parents were early investors. They invested $245,573 in Amazon in 1995, which made them billionaires. It is unclear how many shares if any, the Bezos family holds as of now.

Amazon.com, Inc. is incorporated in the State of Delaware (US), but its headquarters is in Seattle (US), and its second headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia (US).

🎮 Who Controls Amazon (AMZN)?

Who controls Amazon, largest shareholders donut chart

Amazon’s shareholders with the largest voting power are founder Jeff Bezos, who holds 12.3% of all votes, followed by asset manager giant Vanguard with 7.0% voting power, and asset manager BlackRock with 5.8% voting power.

Amazon has only one class of outstanding shares, with one vote per share. None of the shareholders has individual control over the company.

Amazon’s shareholder with the largest voting power is Jeff Bezos. Despite controlling only 12.3% of all votes, he has outsized influence over Amazon thanks to the credibility he earned as Amazon’s founder, chairman, and CEO. It also helps that there are no other large direct shareholders.

  • Jeff’s voting power percentage is higher than his ownership percentage because it also includes MacKenzie’s votes. This was part of their divorce agreement. Jeff will exercise MacKenzie’s voting power until his ex-wife decides to sell those stocks.

Other large shareholders in terms of voting power are asset manager giants BlackRock and Vanguard, which together control 12.8% of all votes.

Apart from Jeff Bezos, who still serves as executive chairman, other Amazon insiders who have influence over the company are CEO Andy Jessy and other board members and executives.

  • Amazon currently has an 11-member board of directors.
  • Nobody from the board of directors or executive officers, except Jeff Bezos, holds any sizable ownership share.

🗳️ Breakdown of Amazon’s Outstanding Shares and Votes by Top Shareholders

Amazon.com, Inc. had a total of 10,242 million outstanding shares as of December 2022. The following table shows how many shares each Amazon’s large shareholder holds.

 Amazon's Outstanding Shares by Shareholder
In millions of shares as of December 2022
Shareholder Class A Total % Share
Jeff Bezos 993 993 9.7%
Vanguard 712 712 7.0%
BlackRock 596 596 5.8%
MacKenzie Scott 266 266 2.6%
Other 7,675 7,675 74.9%
Total (# millions) 10,242 10,242 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

There were 10,242 million votes distributed among shareholders of Amazon.com, Inc.. The table below shows the total number of votes for each large shareholder.

 Amazon's Vote Control by Shareholder
In millions of votes as of December 2022
Shareholder Class A Proxy Total % Share
Jeff Bezos 993 266 1,259 12.3%
Vanguard 712 - 712 7.0%
BlackRock 596 - 596 5.8%
MacKenzie Scott 266 -266 - 0.0%
Other 7,675 - 7,675 74.9%
Total (# millions) 10,242 - 10,242 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

You can see that there is no difference between shares and votes, since Amazon have only one class of shares and every share has the same rights, expect for a voting power related to McKenzie Scott shares which are held by Jeff Bezos.

💵 Breakdown of Amazon’s Market Value by Shareholder

The following table summarizes how much is each shareholder’s stake in Amazon.com, Inc. worth.

However, keep in mind that a stake in Amazon could be just one part of their portfolio, and their total worth could be bigger, thanks to other investments. It could also be lower if they have debts.

 Amazon's Market Value by Shareholder
Market value in billions $ as of December 2022
Shareholder Class A Total % Share
Jeff Bezos $83.4 $83.4 9.7%
Vanguard $59.8 $59.8 7.0%
BlackRock $50.1 $50.1 5.8%
MacKenzie Scott $22.3 $22.3 2.6%
Other $644.7 $644.7 74.9%
Total ($ billions) $860.3 $860.3 100.0%
Listed are shareholders holding >5% of any share class or notable in other ways
   Source: Multiple SEC filings

Let’s now look at each Amazon shareholder individually.

📒 Who Are Amazon’s Largest Shareholders?

Let’s now go through the list of the largest shareholders of Amazon.com, Inc. one by one and look at who they are, how many shares they own, what is their voting power, and how much is their stake in Amazon worth.

#1 Jeff Bezos (9.7%)

Jeff Bezos's share ownership and voting power in Amazon (chart)

Jeff Bezos is the largest shareholder of Amazon, owning 9.7% of its shares. However, because he exercises voting power also for shares owned by his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, his share of total votes is 12.3%. As of December 2022, the market value of Jeff Bezos’s stake in Amazon was $83.4 billion.

Jeff Bezos owned 993 million shares in Amazon and controlled 1,259 million shareholder votes as of December 2022.

Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon and was also CEO of the company until 2021, when he stepped down. He is still the Executive Chairman of Amazon’s board and the largest individual shareholder.

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994. Initially, Amazon was selling only books, but it has quickly expanded into other categories and became an “everything store,” which turned it into a household name.

Bezos is also the founder of the aerospace company Blue Origin which was able to reach space in 2015.

He owns The Washington Post, which he bought in 2013 and made it profitable.

He also invested in many other companies through his venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions.

#2 Vanguard (7.0%)

Vanguard's share ownership and voting power in Amazon (chart)

Vanguard is the second-largest shareholder of Amazon, owning 7.0% of its shares. As of December 2022, the market value of Vanguard’s stake in Amazon was $59.8 billion.

Vanguard owned 712 million shares in Amazon and controlled 712 million shareholder votes as of December 2022.

Vanguard (The Vanguard Group) is one of the largest asset managers in the world. It manages other people’s money through its mutual funds and exchange-traded funds and also offers other related investing and financial planning services.

Vanguard differs from other large asset managers by having no actual “owner .” Officially Vanguard says that its investors own it since its funds own it, and Vanguard fund investors own those funds.

However, the actual decision power is in the hands of Vanguard’s insiders since the ownership is diluted over millions of investors worldwide.

Vanguard has significant influence over the largest public companies. Thanks to its size, Vanguard usually belongs to the largest shareholders in those companies and has considerable power at their shareholder meetings. This is especially true if ownership is diluted.

#3 BlackRock (5.8%)

BlackRock's share ownership and voting power in Amazon (chart)

BlackRock is the third-largest shareholder of Amazon, owning 5.8% of its shares. As of December 2022, the market value of BlackRock’s stake in Amazon was $50.1 billion.

BlackRock owned 596 million shares in Amazon and controlled 596 million shareholder votes as of December 2022.

BlackRock, Inc. is the world’s largest asset manager, with assets under management of $10 trillion. BlackRock is not only an asset manager, but it also provides other asset managers and corporations with its Aladdin portfolio management software.

BlackRock is a publicly traded company, and its largest shareholders are its competitors, including BlackRock itself. Not directly but through their passive and active funds. The largest shareholder is Vanguard.

A similar situation is also true in the opposite direction because BlackRock is a significant shareholder in many of its publicly traded competitors and other large institutions, making the whole thing even more eyebrow-raising.

This circular ownership between Vanguard, BlackRock, and other large asset managers, amplifies the issue often raised about the power of these large asset managers over public companies since they usually belong to the most significant shareholders with large voting power.

  • In the case of Blackrock, this influence is personified in the form of its CEO Larry Fink, who is a powerful figure with close ties to the FED and US government.

  • Adding to these concerns is evidence that BlackRock and other asset managers usually vote in favor of management proposals.

#4 MacKenzie Scott (2.6%)

MacKenzie Scott's share ownership and voting power in Amazon (chart)

MacKenzie Scott owns 2.6% of Amazon’s shares. However, she has no voting power since, as part of her divorce from Jeff Bezos, they agreed that Jeff would exercise voting power for her stake. As of December 2022, the market value of MacKenzie Scott’s stake in Amazon was $22.3 billion.

MacKenzie Scott owned 266 million shares in Amazon and controlled 0 shareholder votes as of December 2022.

MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos) is a novelist and is currently mainly a philanthropist. She is the former wife of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. She was one of Amazon’s early employees and, after her divorce, was the sole owner of 4% of Amazon, Inc.

After the divorce, she did not waste any time and joined the Giving Pledge and started working towards donating the majority of her wealth to various non-profit organizations.

❔ Who Founded Amazon With Jeff Bezos?

Jeff Bezos did not have an official “co-founder,” but his former wife, MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos), came pretty close. They married shortly before Amazon was founded, and MacKenzie was one of the early employees and helped there in many roles.

Although, as the company grew bigger, she became less active in the day-to-day operations.

Today, after their divorce, she is the second largest individual shareholder in Amazon, although she holds no voting rights to her stake.

Jeff had help not only from his wife but also from other parts of his family. Let’s remember that family was a significant source of his startup capital. Especially his parents, who invested $245,573 in 1995.

At the time of Amazon’s IPO in 1997, Bezos’s family stake was 10%, and Jeff had 41%.

📅 Amazon’s History Timeline

These are selected events from Amazon’s history:

  • 1994: Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos
  • 1997: Amazon’s initial public offering (IPO)
  • 2002: Launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • 2017: Acquisition of Whole Foods Market,
  • 2021: Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO and handed over the CEO position to Andy Jassy. Jeff remained the executive chairman.

Amazon’s Financial Statements: Overview & Analysis
Older overview and analysis of Amazon’s financial statements from its annual report with financial statement visualizations. The first part of the article also includes my take on what Amazon’s business model is about.

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Other Resources

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