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When Billionaires Divorce
Doing what I do for a living, I'm constantly amazed at how people who once (said they) loved each other treat each other when it's over. For a refreshing change, check out billionaires Tim and Edra Blixeth's do-it-yourself amicable division of property before the divorce. Robert Frank writes in The Wall Street Journal:

A couple of months ago, they decided to separate or divorce. Their four kids -- all from previous marriages -- were grown. "Our lives and interests were growing apart," Edra says. "There was no scandal or affair or event. It happened over time."

Neither wanted to place their fate in the hands of a judge. So they hatched a plan for their own deal. They each made a list of their assets and their estimated worth. They ranked each by order of personal importance. Then they met at the Beverly Hills Hotel to compare their notepads.

"We sat down, and I joked 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours,' " Edra recalls.

Surprisingly, the lists were relatively compatible, though they're still wrestling over a few assets and valuations. (And they had to be interviewed separately.)

They started with their estate, called Porcupine Creek, a 30,000-square-foot mansion with a 19-hole golf course and eight cottages and casitas. Realtors say it's one of the most expensive homes in the country, with an estimated sale price of $200 million or more (though it's not on the market).

Edra grew attached to the home where she raised her kids, while Tim says he is more of a "nomad." They put Porcupine Creek on Edra's side of the ledger.

The rest of the couple's properties fell into easy "his" and "her" categories. Edra kept the condo in Seattle, since it's close to one of her start-up companies. Tim got the condo in Boise, Idaho, near his timber operations. She got the beach house in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, while he kept the villa just down the coast in Tamarindo.

They will each keep their own businesses and will remain partners in the companies they operate together, including Yellowstone. They agreed to share their three jets. And for now, Edra gets the dogs, a golden retriever named Andy and a Shi Tzu named G2 (as in Gulfstream 2).

"For me, the businesses were the most important," Tim says. "This is what I do for a living, it's exciting, I love doing it, and it has a very bright future and a lot of upside. I can always build another Porcupine Creek."

Granted, Tim and Edra would have had to divide their fortune in half anyway. California's community-property laws require couples without pre-nups to equally split assets acquired during their marriage, unless they came from inheritance or gifts. And Tim and Edra both had lawyers sign off on the deal before they filed the divorce in court.

Of course, there's a chance that the deal won't last. "This is not to say that the whole thing won't blow up in court," Edra says. "But unless one of us does something out of character, I don't think it will."

If their agreement holds up, the Blixseths may have set a new example for the wealthy -- and the not-so-wealthy.

Posted by aalkon at January 3, 2007 10:10 AM

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> a new example for the wealthy --
> and the not-so-wealthy.

Naw. They found each other late in life. They'd already built families and businesses, and had no need for each other for security against the ravages of an uncaring world (cancer, poverty). So when they imagined parting, there were no twinges of fear or deep betrayal to kickstart the bitterness, as with other marriages. The investments they shared were trivial.

They were Brad and Jen without the youthful fucking. Fun to think about for other reasons, but not a meaningful example of anything.

Posted by: Crid at January 3, 2007 6:28 AM

Actually, the relationships of friends I see working best are often those of people who get together in their 40s.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 3, 2007 7:17 AM

It would have been fun to try it as a billionaire at any age!

Posted by: Crid at January 3, 2007 7:29 AM

Good example of why a prenup is more important for middle-class couples: the financial hit is more meaningful. Billionaires may have more zeroes at stake, but their lifestyles wouldn't likely suffer even with a vastly unfair 90/10 split.

But that 200-300k 401(k) for the mid-30's divorcee? Uh . . . extremely important.

Posted by: snakeman99 at January 3, 2007 11:29 AM

This is the most unselfish act for any two people
to even consider. Other wealthy people should follow this example.

Posted by: Chester Borland at January 13, 2007 12:51 PM

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