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Case study: Kerry Packer

Case study: Kerry Packer

When he died on Boxing Day 2005, he had amassed a AUS$6.5bn (£2.5bn) fortune, prompted the greatest controversy that cricket has ever seen, suffered eight strokes and spent seven minutes as clinically dead.

And he managed to squeeze in a career as one of Australia's most successful businessman. When it comes to media mogul Kerry Packer's life story, you couldn't make it up.

Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer entered the world on 17 December 1937, where his father and grandfather had already established the family company, Consolidated Press Holdings.

It was a major shareholder in Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL), owner of the Nine television network and producer of many of Australia's top selling magazines.

Kerry's father wanted his son to learn the business from the bottom so set him to work in the loading dock of Sydney newspaper The Telegraph.

When his brother Clyde, the intended heir, fell out with their father in 1974, Kerry stepped in and inherited the family's AUS$100m (£40m) controlling stake in PBL.

From that point onwards Packer, one of the great Aussie entrepreneurs, built the business with a visionary zeal. He added gambling interests such as the Crown Casino to the company's portfolio as well as dabbling in petrochemicals, diamond exploration, property and telecommunications.

Kerry's father wanted his son to learn the business from the bottom so set him to work in the loading dock of Sydney newspaper, The Telegraph

In 1977 Kerry made a bid for the television rights to screen Australian Test cricket matches but was turned down by the Australian Cricket Board. Incensed, Packer decided to set up his own tournament.

He recruited 50 players to take part in World Series Cricket, which added an element of excitement with coloured clothing and floodlights.

Until his death from kidney failure, Kerry's name was synonymous with controversy.

He faced government inquiries into his tax minimisation schemes and was accused, and later acquitted, of tax evasion and involvement in organised crime. Packer ended the sports boycott of apartheid South Africa, received a kidney from his helicopter pilot Nick Ross and, like so many entrepreneurs, was believed to have dyslexia.

An impulsive gambler and was rumoured to have lost £11m in a three-week binge in London casinos, yet was reported to have tipped an Australian waitress with a cheque for the amount of her mortgage.

He may have been a complex character - but it seemed to work for him.

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