Packer sells out of Ellerston Capital

James Packer has sold out of the company which has for years functioned as the Packer family’s investment and funds management group.

Ellerston Capital has Packer-led investments in Deals Direct and Trade Me and just before Christmas invested in the Mark Bouris-led venture ADAM.

Packer was thought to be behind the deal but documents filed with the corporate regulator reveal the billionaire sold out of Ellerston in 2011.

The company’s website still references the Packers even though Packer resigned as a director and from Ellerston’s board on August 11, 2011.

“Ellerston was established as a subsidiary of Consolidated Press Holdings (the Packer family holding company) in 2004, focusing on direct public equity market and managed fund investments,” it states.

But the latest annual accounts for Ellerston Capital reveal the company’s registered office is no longer within the Packer compound at 54 Park Street, Sydney, but around the corner at 179 Elizabeth Street.

The accounts show Packer’s private company, CPH, sold down its 100% shareholding in late August 2011 through a capital reconstruction of Ellerston, leaving the company 75% owned by a trust controlled by Ellerston’s employees and headed by Packer’s long-time adviser Ashok Jacob.

It’s unclear what the sale means for Packer’s digital strategy, as he previously made investments in the online retailing sector through Ellerston’s Special Opportunities fund.

In 2011, it paid about $10 million for DealsDirect, last year it paid about $5 million for a stake in e-commerce freight business Temando and it then became a substantial shareholder in online auction site Trade Me but sold its entire holding just before Christmas.

Packer still holds his $80 million investment in online retail group Catch of the Day, which was made through CPH rather than Ellerston.

This article was first published on LeadingCompany’s sister site, SmartCompany.

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