James Packer sends message to Kerry Stokes by increasing stake in Consolidated Media

James Thomson /

James Packer has sent a clear message to rival media mogul Kerry Stokes that he has no intention of giving up control of Consolidated Media by spending another $30 million to take his shareholding above 40%.

Packer’s private company Consolidated Press Holdings bought another 10 million shares at $2.65 a share yesterday, after buying around one million shares on Friday and Monday. These purchases take Packer’s stake in Consolidated Media from 37.9% to 40.9%.

Packer’s purchases send a pointed message to Seven Network boss Kerry Stokes. Seven spent around $235 million last week taking its stake in Consolidated Media from 4.8% to 18.3%.

Some commentators had speculated that Stokes might make a full takeover bid for Consolidated Media, but Packer’s decision to further shore up his holdings proves that he is not prepared to sell out.

But Stokes’ stake should allow him to have a big say in the fate of pay TV operator Foxtel, in which Consolidated Media owns a 25% stake.

James Thomson

James was the editor and publisher of SmartCompany and LeadingCompany for five years. He is now the Australian Financial Review's companies & markets editor, and a former BRW editor.