Sergey Brin, the Google cofounder and world’s sixthrichest person, filed for a divorce from his wife of three years, making him the third mega-billionaire to do so within four years. Brin filed a petition for dissolution of his marriage to Nicole Shanahan this month, citing “irreconcilable differences,” according to court documents.
The couple, who have a three-year-old son, took steps to keep the details of the split private, requesting that documents be sealed by the court. “Because of the high profile nature of their relationship, there is likely to be significance public interest in their dissolution case and any potential child custody issues,” as per the filing in a California court.
Brin, 48, has a fortune of $94 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, derived largely from his holdings in Google, the company he co-founded with Larry Page in 1998 that later formed the holding company Alphabet. Both he and Page left Alphabet in 2019, although they remain on the board and still are the controlling shareholders.
Brin’s earlier marriage to 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki ended in divorce in 2015.
His most recent split comes ayear 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 $145 billion fortune to divide, while Bezos and Scott had $137 billion at stake when they broke up.
It’s likely Brin and Shanahan have a prenuptial agree- ment since the relationship began long after he became a billionaire, said Monica Mazzei, a partner at Sideman & Bancroft LLP. But because the case is being handled by a private judge, “we will never know the details” of the divorce, she said.
Philanthropy could also play a role in the divorce settlement, Mazzei said. Shanahan created the Bia-Echo Foundation, whose focus is on “longevity and equality, criminal justice reform and a healthy and livable planet,” as per its website. The foundation reported $16. 7 million in assets and made $7. 4 million in grants, according to its 2019 tax filing, the most recent available. Mazzei said divorce agreements often include the support of an ex-spouse’s philanthropy because it’s mutually beneficial: The grantor gets a tax break and the grantee gets agency over their charitable giving. Brin was the only contributor to the foundation, according to the tax form, with a gift that year of over $23 million. Arepresentative for Bia-Echo didn’t return a call requesting comment.

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