Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder and the world’s sixth richest person, filed for divorce from his wife of three years, making him the third billionaire to do so in as many years.
Brin filed a motion to dissolve his marriage to Nicole Shanahan this month, citing “irreconcilable differences,”[ads1]; according to court documents. The couple, who have a three-year-old son, took steps to keep the details of the split private, and requested that documents be sealed by the court.
“Because of the high profile of their relationship, there is likely to be significant public interest in their dissolution case and any issues of parental responsibility,” according to the Santa Clara, California archives.
Brin, 48, has a fortune of $ 94 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, mainly taken from his holdings in Google, the company he co-founded with Larry Page in 1998 that later formed the holding company Alphabet Inc. Both he and Page left Alphabet in 2019, even though they are still on the board and still are the controlling shareholders.
Brin’s previous marriage to 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki ended in divorce in 2015.
His latest split comes a year after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates announced the dissolution of their marriage and about three years after Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced. At the time, Gates and French Gates had a fortune of $ 145 billion to share, while Bezos and Scott had $ 137 billion at stake when they broke up.
Brin and Shanahan are likely to have a marriage contract since the relationship began long after he became a billionaire, said Monica Mazzei, a partner at Sideman & Bancroft LLP in San Francisco. But because the case is being processed by a private judge, “we will never know the details” about the divorce, she said.
Philanthropy can also play a role in the divorce agreement, Mazzei said. Shanahan created the Bia-Echo Foundation, whose focus is on “longevity and equality, criminal justice reform and a healthy and livable planet,” according to the website. The foundation reported $ 16.7 million in assets and provided $ 7.4 million in grants, according to the 2019 tax filing, the latest available.
Mazzei said that divorce agreements often include support from a former spouse’s philanthropy because it is mutually beneficial: the grantor receives a tax relief and the grant recipient receives an agency over their charitable gifts. Brin was the sole contributor to the foundation, according to the tax form, with a gift that year of more than $ 23 million.
A representative of the Bia-Echo Foundation did not return a phone call asking for comment.
Scott has become the world’s most productive philanthropist since she divorced Bezos, allocating billions of dollars to a wide range of causes thanks to a 4% stake in Amazon.com Inc. she ended up with in 2019.
After Gateses’ divorce, their focus has also turned to philanthropy. Unlike Scott and Bezos, the former couple had already made their name as mega-donors with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and it was a question of how the $ 50 billion charity engine would be affected.
French Gates has since turned its attention to its own philanthropic investment firm Pivotal Ventures, which was launched in 2015 with a focus on implementing “innovative solutions to problems affecting American women and families.”