Wall Street traders may love to gossip about merger rumors and other corporate dramas. But the private life of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is apparently of no concern to investors.
Experts who follow Amazon stock said they aren’t worried about the spat between Bezos and the National Enquirer, even after Bezos accused the head of AMI, the tabloid’s publisher, of an “extortion and blackmail” attempt for allegedly threatening to release compromising photos of him. AMI says it believes it acted lawfully.
Shares of Amazon did fall more than 2% Friday. But the entire market, including tech stocks, were lower.
And while Amazon’s stock is down 5% since Bezos tweeted about his impending divorce from his wife MacKenzie a month ago, much of that is due to the fact that investors are nervous about slowing sales growth and Amazon’s plans to spend more on new investments.
In other words, there is no reason for long-term Amazon bulls to be panicking due to fears that Bezos may have too much on his plate — professionally or personally.
Analysts pointed out that Bezos has been super busy for the past decade with other pursuits outside of Amazon — and that has yet to slow the company down.
“Bezos is an individual who has the capacity to work on multiple fronts at the same time. He doesn’t get distracted easily,” said Tom Forte, an analyst with D.A. Davidson.
Forte is the most bullish Amazon analyst on Wall Street. He has a price target of $2,450 a share, more than 50% above its current price.
“Look at his ability to concurrently advance Amazon, own the Washington Post and develop Blue Origin from scratch,” Forte said, referencing Bezos’ ownership of the venerable DC newspaper and the rocket company that competes with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. “That has in no way detracted from his ability to run Amazon.”
Norm Conley, CEO of JAG Capital Management, a money manager that owns a big stake in Amazon for its JAG Large Cap Growth fund, said that what’s going on with Bezos in his personal life is not something he’s spending time thinking about either.
He said it’s possible for Bezos to do a phenomenal job running Amazon while still having flaws in his private life.
“Bezos is a genius. He may be the best business leader of our time, but I’m pretty sure he’s also still human. I’m not going to sell the stock,” Conley said. “It’s a personal matter.”
Bezos is also the largest shareholder in Amazon, with a more than 16% stake in the company. That means that any significant changes at the company are unlikely — although not impossible.
Bezos, unlike many other corporate founders, does not have shares with supervoting rights.
In theory, Amazon investors could try to oust him if they felt that Bezos was no longer the right person to run the company. But that seems highly unlikely given his track record of building the company into what it is today.
Conley added that if Bezos did have to step down for any reason, he’d be confident with having Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon’s lucrative Amazon Web Services cloud hosting division, taking control of the whole company.
But a management change is not likely anytime soon. Scott Devitt, an analyst who follows Amazon for brokerage firm Stifel and has a price target of $2,300 on the stock, said that the drama with the Enquirer is a “non-event” for shareholders.
Devitt said he doubts that consumers really care about who Bezos is dating either — no matter what people on Twitter say about his love life. Loyal fans will keep shopping on the Amazon app and at Whole Foods and watching their favorite shows on Prime Video.
“There’s always the possibility of something getting amplified on social media but it probably wouldn’t have any impact on the business. Amazon provides such a high level of service to its customers,” Devitt said.