Packer has no choice to quits business interests
Crown’s two Australian resorts, Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, feature over 2,750 hotel rooms, villas, gambling areas, resort pools, spas, restaurants and retail, convention centres and live entertainment venues. Forbes Asia magazine assessed Packer’s net worth at US$3.8 billion in December 2017, the ninth-richest Australian. James Packer was born in Sydney, the son of philanthropist Roslyn (née Weedon) and media mogul Kerry Packer. At Packer’s urging, the magazine group then controlled by his family, Australian Consolidated Press, acquired a 41% stake in online advertiser Carsales in October 2005. The deal, initially valued at A$100 million, was eventually worth A$462 million to Packer-controlled entities. In March 2006, Packer began discussing whether to sell Channel Nine and the Australian Consolidated Press magazine group to help fund his move into the international gaming and tourism business. After obtaining the Higher School Certificate (HSC) at Cranbrook, he began working at his father’s extensive Newcastle Waters cattle station in the Barkly Tableland of the Northern Territory, where he was a jackeroo. He inherited control of the family company, Consolidated Press Holdings Limited, as well as investments in Crown Resorts and other companies. He is the former executive chairman of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) and Consolidated Media Holdings, which predominantly owned media interests across a range of platforms, and a former executive chairman of Crown Resorts. In May 2018, Packer’s net worth was assessed as A$5.50 billion by the Financial Review Rich List, ranking him as the tenth-richest Australian; he was the richest person in Australia in 2006 and 2007. Crown completed the sell down of this investment in May 2017. Betfair Australasia was formed as a 50/50 joint venture between Crown Resorts and Betfair Group plc. CrownBet was convicted of the five offences and ordered to pay a total of $10,500 in fines and also ordered to pay . On 17 October 2006, Packer’s team finalised a deal to sell 50% of the media assets—which also included a 50% stake in web portal Ninemsn and a 51% stake in Carsales—to private equity group CVC Asia Pacific for A$4.5 billion, plus an additional A$1 billion in equity in the new company, which would be called PBL Media. In June 2007, Packer sold another 25% share of the joint-venture PBL Media to CVC for $515 million. At Crown’s annual meeting in October 2013 Packer said “Crown’s investment through our partnership with Melco International Development has now grown to be one of the largest Australian joint-venture partnerships operating inside China”. The wedding was at the Antibes town hall, and the second ceremony took place at Hotel du Cap – Eden Roc in Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera. His grandfather was the media proprietor Sir Frank Packer. Packer was educated at Cranbrook School in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. Crown has since rebranded Aspinall’s Club to Crown Aspinall’s. Together with Damian Aspinall, Packer’s Crown Resorts holds a 50% equity interest in a group of casino complexes in the UK called Aspers, which operate four regional casinos in Newcastle upon Tyne, Stratford, East London, Milton Keynes and Northampton. Packer’s bid for a UK “supercasino” based in Cardiff fell through when only one licence was granted, to the northern city of Manchester. In December 2014, Crown Resorts signed a deal with Matthew Tripp, which gave Crown Resorts control over Tripp’s online betting platform, CrownBet, formerly known as BetEasy. but Magistrate Joanne Keogh said convictions were necessary for general deterrence to others in the industry and to protect the vulnerable. He later distanced himself from the church. Packer later married part-time model and singer Erica Baxter, whom he wed in the equivalent of a civil ceremony on 20 June 2007. In April 2016 CrownBet pleaded guilty to five counts of breaching laws by publishing illegal betting advertising that offered inducements for NSW residents to gamble. According to the NSW Department of Justice, CrownBet “sought to have the matters finalised without conviction in Downing Centre Local Court . In October 2008, Packer wrote down his final 25% stake in PBL Media to zero. Crown also paid US$242 million for a stake in Station Casinos which is now considered almost worthless. As at 30 June 2013, Crown held a 33.7% equity interest in MCE. Together, Packer and Baxter have three children: daughter Indigo, born 27 July 2008, son Jackson Lloyd, born 1 February 2010, and daughter Emmanuelle Sheelah, born 22 September 2012. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Packer met struggling actress Charlotte Kirk in November 2012 when she was 20 and Packer was 45, and the two embarked on a relationship. At the time it was alleged that the break up was a result of Carey’s extravagant spending and rows over the singer’s reality show Mariah’s World, but Packer later said that the relationship had just been a “mistake” for both sides. Crown is one of Australia’s largest gambling and resort groups. The Packer family also have pastoral property holdings in Scone, called Ellerston Station. Packer was engaged to actress Kate Fischer until the couple separated in 1998 after five years together and a two-year engagement. Packer married Jodhi Meares at his home in Bellevue Hill, Sydney in October 1999; the relationship lasted two years, and the couple separated in 2002. Following the breakdown of his first marriage, and the development of a friendship with the actor Tom Cruise, Packer began attending the Church of Scientology in Australia, taking courses on the Church’s Dundas business centre in 2002. In October 2017, Crown’s market capitalisation was over A$8 billion. By the end of 2012, debt from CVC’s acquisition had overwhelmed Channel Nine and US hedge funds ousted CVC, taking complete ownership. Since his father’s death, Packer has moved away from the family’s traditional media businesses and focused on creating a worldwide gambling empire: Crown Resorts. In August 2014, Crown Resorts announced it had acquired Betfair Group plc’s 50% equity interest in Betfair Australasia Pty Limited (Betfair Australasia) for consideration of $10 million. In 2011, Packer’s ASX-listed Crown Limited acquired a 100% interest in Aspinall’s Club in London, developed through a joint venture between Crown and Packer’s family friend, Damian Aspinall, the son of John Aspinall. In November 2017, Packer paid Carey a multi-million dollar settlement, in response to a lawsuit pursued by Carey citing an “inconvenience fee”. It has businesses and investments in the integrated resort and casino sectors in Australia and Macau, and wholly owns and operates a high-end casino in London, Crown Aspinall’s. In October 2017, Crown’s market capitalization was over $8 billion. Every year Crown’s Australian resorts attract over 31 million visits. Following the dotcom crash of 2000–2001, Packer acquired stakes in the online classified sites SEEK and CarSales, believing that newspaper companies relying heavily on classified advertising were vulnerable to online companies in categories including employment and vehicle listings.