Kerry Packer was Australia’s richest businessman and undoubtedly the media mogul, in the true sense of the term. Kerry Packer owned the maximum number of shares in Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, the company which owns channel Nine television and in Australian Consolidated Press which occupied 60% shares of the Australian magazine market. Kerry Packer is renowned for his business strategies, outspoken nature and clashes with many official organizations.
Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer was born on 17th December, 1937 in Sydney, Australia. He was the second son of Sir Frank Parker, who was a strict father and taskmaster. Most of the youth of Kerry Packer was lonely and disrupted. He was sent to a boarding school at the age of five and just after one year he suffered from infantile paralysis. Kerry Packer’s condition became very serious and he had to spend nine months in an iron lung. At the age of nine, he again went back to the boarding school. Kerry Packer had a huge interest in sports though he was not academically sound. He started working for his father’s newspaper company at the age of 19. He had a tremendous respect for his father’s business strategies inspite of the fact that the father-son relation was quite sour.
Kerry Packer took over the business in 1974 after his father’s death. Sir Frank Packer had started his media business in the year 1933. Kerry Packer expanded the realms of this business empire by acquiring the shares of many newspaper houses like Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. In the year 1977, the Australian Cricket Board shunned down his offer of $1.5 million for providing TV rights for Test cricket. In response, Packer went ahead and signed 50 top players of the world and converted football and trotting grounds into cricket fields. He started his own version of Test matches and One-day cricket and gradually acquired the television broadcasting rights.
Kerry Packer was an intelligent and efficient businessman who new when to sell shares and when to invest. For instance, he sold the rights for two of his Channel Nine TV stations to Alan Bond in the year 1987 for $1billion. Later on, he bought back the rights for just two hundred and fifty million dollars when Alan was facing a financial crunch. In 1991, he tried to buy the Fairfax news group in order to expand his business but the Australian parliament denied this accession in order to curb his growing hold over the media world.
Apart from the media business, Kerry Packer is also involved in the business of gambling and tourism. He is a famous gambler who made bets in millions and is the proud owner of Crown Casino, Melbourne, the largest casino in Australia. The Packer Empire comprises of shares in telecommunications, heavy engineering, petrochemicals, diamond mines, coalmines, 75% share in the Perisher Blue ski resort and also a considerable share in the Foxtel cable TV network.
The empire of Kerry Packer is handled by his son, James Packer. According to the Forbes magazine’s list of rich people he acquired 111 rank in 2004 survey. His total worth was $4.2 billion according to the last survey. Kerry Packer, Australia’s richest and most successful businessman passed away on December 27, 2005 at the age of 68, in his Bellevue Hill home.