James Packer: Setting His Own Course

It can be tough when you have a larger-than-life father who was always in the eyes of the public. This had been the case with James Packer the son of the late Australian media baron Kerry Packer. As the heir-apparent his moves were also closely watched.

James was born in Sydney, Australia on September 8, 1967. He studied at Cranbrook School in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. James went as far as getting the Higher School Certificate (HSC) at Cranbrook. Many successful businessmen did not go on to college since they had to concentrate on their business. In the case of James he did not proceed to get a university degree because his father stated “Why would he want to go there? To learn how to smoke marijuana?”

James instead was sent to his father’s huge cattle station in the Northern Territory where he worked as a jackeroo. His father believed more on the school of hard knocks than the academe. Aside from his father a well-know tough business executive was also his mentor.  In some ways being tutored by real world successful businessmen may be a more superior form of education than in a university setting which does involve a lot of theories.

James has had his own setbacks in the world of business. He was a director of One.Tel, an Australian telecommunications company that was declared insolvent in May 2001. This cost their company, Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) A$327 million.

While his father built a media empire and branched out into gambling, James has had more focus on the gambling business.  He has been learning the hard way having lost for Crown Limited (a family controlled gambling entity) US$250 million in failed casino investment company, Fontainebleau Resorts in the U.S. He has other failed investments in the gambling industry as well.

Nevertheless he sees the future of his empire in the gambling sector. Whatever his losses he sees more gains. He sold pay-TV company Consolidated Media Holdings to Newscorp. for US$ 1billion in 2012. It basically ended his family’s interest in the media industry. It has given him more cash to focus on his gaming empire through Crown Ltd.

Crown owns casinos in Australia, has a joint venture in Macau and is also in a joint venture in the Philippines.  James has now set his own course.

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