Australian billionaire James Packer has opened up about his infamous brawl with Nine Entertainment boss David Gyngell while spruiking his latest ventures on a whirlwind visit to Australia.
The heir to the Packer empire, who was ranked seventh on this year’s BRW Rich List with an estimated wealth of just over $6 billion, also discussed his latest investments and what he thought about people booing Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes.
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Here are four things you need to know about Packer’s recent business trip.
1. The billionaire believes punching David Gyngell was a mistake
Speaking at a breakfast event in Sydney, Packer said he regretted the infamous brawl with Nine Entertainment boss David Gyngell last year.
The punch-up was splashed on the front pages of newspapers and made television headlines around the country.
Packer believes he should be judged on the success of his business empire rather than judged on the brawl with Gyngell, according to Fairfax.
“I should have never punched Gyngell outside my house,” Packer said.
“I’ve made a bunch of mistakes, but in a business sense, I’ve had a go more than anyone else I’ve known.”
2. Packer is pouring his wealth into technology startups
Packer has had his eye on high-growth technology ventures for some time.
Last year he invested in Sydney-based peer-to-peer lending business SocietyOne, contributing to the startup’s multi-million dollar funding round.
Packer’s investment fund Ellerston Capital has also made a number of investments in companies in the ecommerce space.
The billionaire flagged that he would be closing more deals in the future – both within Australia’s technology space and overseas markets.
“We are working on a number of investments in the technology sector, mostly in the data storage, social gaming and information security areas,” Packer said.
“As part of this work, CPH [Consolidated Press Holdings] is looking at the IT sector in Australia, Israel, USA and Asia involving our partnership with Paul Bassat – through our Square Peg investment vehicle.”
3. Packer will continue to bet on casinos rather than his media interests
Speaking to the media in Sydney, Packer said he will continue to invest money in creating a global empire of resorts and casinos as his media business is not as profitable or scalable.
“I’ve spent an enormous amount of capex [capital expenditure] over recent years, but I am trying to build a global network of iconic resorts to show the world the quality of our luxury brand,” Packer said.
“In 2007, I spent a shitload of money, but despite my foray into Vegas being a disaster, my investment in Macau has paid off. The plan is to create an iconic global business – unfortunately my old media portfolio just wasn’t scalable globally.”
4. The treatment of AFL star Adam Goodes has left him ashamed to be Australian
During his business tour of Australia, Packer also weighed in on the Adam Goodes saga.
“He’s an Australian of the Year, I think he’s an amazing role model and to hear people booing him is something that I’m ashamed of as an Australian,” Packer told the ABC.
“Australia as a country must, in my view, take the next step of recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples in our constitution. This issue is above politics and sits at the core of what Australia was, is, and has the potential to be.”