Home Interesting People Scott Hassan: Inside A Google Billionaire’s Divorce

Scott Hassan: Inside A Google Billionaire’s Divorce

Scott Hassan

Celebrity divorces, though scandalous and entertaining for some, are nothing compared to billionaire divorces. There is a LOT more money involved and the stakes are much higher. Nothing is different about the divorce of Scott Hassan and Allison Huynh.

In 2014, the Google investor texted his wife that it was over between the two of them. They had been together 13 years and how he was going to move out of their home. After 7 years, the Google billionaire’s divorce is still going on. It remains undecided how to split the investments into tech companies, prime real estate in California, etc. There are billions on the line here; literally.

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Editorial Credit: Uladzik Kryhin

Who is Scott Hassan?

Scott Hassan is often referred to as the third “original founder of Google”. He was a lead programmer who wrote a lot of the code for the original search engine. However, he left the company before it was actually officially founded. He founded the company Willow Garage in 2006, but still owns a lot of Google stock.

He’s not a household name like the other co-founders of Google, Sergey Brin or Larry Page. He was a research assistant at Stanford University’s Computer Science department. He was a resident programmer for a lot of doctorate students. When he met Page as a Ph.D., he rewrote the code for a slow web crawler that Page had created.

This web crawler would eventually become a very key part of the Google search engine. It was initially built to understand the relationships between links on different sites. This eventually evolved into a search engine and became Google in 1998.

Mr. Hassan bought 160,000 shares of Google for $800. Today, those shares would be valued at over $13 billion. He never worked for Google, but he was the co-founder of a company called e-Groups, which sold to Yahoo! for $432 million.

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How is the Google Billionaire’s Divorce Different From Others?

This divorce is so different among the Silicon Valley billionaires because it has dragged on for so long. Usually, Silicon Valley execs and tech-heads get divorced quietly. You can look at the two most notable divorces in the last few years; Bill and Melinda Gates, and Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott.

Both the divorces, though very notable in the media, didn’t turn ugly. There were very minimal statements by both parties, and they remained quiet about the entire ordeal. You can also look at Elon Musk and his various marriages. None of them have generated much buzz.

Even Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and Anne Wojcicki, who started 23andMe together, split amicably. Their divorce was handled by a private judge who hashed out the details after 8 years of marriage.

However, with Scott Hassan, the Google billionaire’s divorce has done anything but wrap up quickly.

A trial has already begun which may offer an unusual public peek into the dealings. These include Mr. Hassan’s unsuccessful attempt to get Ms. Huynh to sign a post-nuptial agreement. Also, there’s his admission that he started a website in her name to try to embarrass her with privileged information.

Why this divorce isn’t taking place under a private judge is a matter of dispute.

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What is Ms. Huynh’s Side of the Story in the Google Billionaire’s Divorce?

Ms. Huynh has said that Scott Hassan refused to go to a private judge. He said that the proceedings wouldn’t necessarily be kept private. Also, it would require them to pay for a retired judge or a neutral attorney.

Also, Ms. Huynh has accused her former husband of divorce terrorism. Mr. Hassan apparently told her that he planned to “bury her” and make sure that she gets “nothing”. Mr. Hassan denies this. He said that

“At the end of a relationship and through a divorce this lengthy, things are never easy, and no one is at their best,”

The History of their Marriage Makes the Google Billionaire’s Divorce Murky

Ms. Huynh’s case is that she supported the family when Mr. Hassan had nothing. She was a consultant and web developer at the time and built websites for clients. These included Wells Fargo among other companies.

They were married in 2001, five days before Christmas at the White Chapel in Las Vegas. There was no prenup nor a discussion of finances. Mr. Hassan was $60,000 in debt at the time. Hence, Ms. Huynh paid for food, travel, entertainment, most of the time. This mirrors several Google billionaire’s divorces. Mackenzie Scott also supported Jeff Bezos financially when Amazon was nothing but an office.

Mr. Hassan denies that they were in debt at the time. He says he was debt-free and financially secure at the time. He said he had invested in Google stock, and also owned a house in San Francisco. He also owned $8 million worth of stock in Yahoo!, as well as some stock in Amazon.

Ms. Huynh says she put her career on hold to raise their children as well and assist Mr. Hassan with the business. The issues of money didn’t come up until four years after their marriage. This was at the time of their oldest daughter’s second birthday.

The first sign of trouble that would eventually evolve into the Google billionaire’s divorce was an agreement. Mr. Hassan offered Ms. Huynh $20 million worth of Google stock to relinquish any claim to marital assets. He also offered her half of 3 Bay Area real estate properties. These include houses in Palo Alto, and San Francisco as well as a building in Menlo Park. Ms. Huynh refused. She felt blindsided and hurt. Mr. Hassan simply says that the agreement was to share his newfound wealth with his wife.

The Google Billionaire’s Divorce

Mr. Hassan first texted his wife that he was divorcing her in 2011. She thought he was kidding, but he wouldn’t relent. They tried counseling for a while but then separated for good in January 2015.

Now, the fight is over small assets, not the Google stock. However this Google billionaire’s divorce turns out, it’s definitely one of the more high-profile cases.

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