Rupert Murdoch's son 'brokers peace' between Australian billionaires fighting 'over Miranda Kerr'
* Pictures of Bondi Beach fight between James Packer and fellow billionaire David Gyngell on the front pages of newspapers across Australia
* Both men issued joint statement saying they remain 'close friends'
* Gyngell was angry with Packer after he split from his second wife and mother of his two children
* Packer has since been linked to supermodel Miranda Kerr
* Lachlan Murdoch - son of Rupert Murdoch - brokers peace between two men
* This did not prevent his family business News Corp from buying and publishing pictures of now infamous brawl
Published 06/05/2014 | 06:52
Following his warning to Australian billionaire James Packer that he was “going to punch him”, David Gyngell, the tycoon’s lifelong friend and best man, waited for 20 minutes on the boot of his car outside Mr Packer’s luxurious beachside pad.
Arriving directly from his private jet, Mr Packer, son of Australian television mogul and one-day cricket pioneer Kerry Packer, stepped out of a chauffeur-driven car.
Some onlookers said the two then exchanged profanities, others said there were no words at all – but all were agreed that the pair "went at it hammer and tongs" in a Sunday afternoon brawl that has captivated the nation.
The former private school friends - two of the country’s best known business figures - were seen flailing on the ground, with the larger Mr Packer, 46, eventually holding Mr Gyngell, 47, in a tight headlock; there were reports that one of the two lost teeth.
Mr Gyngell heads Channel Nine and is the son of a former executive at the television station, which was built up by Kerry Packer before his son sold his stake in it to pursue a thriving global casino empire. But by all accounts, this was not a business dispute: it was personal.
Mr Gyngell has apparently been furious that Mr Packer separated six months ago from Erica Baxter, his second wife and the mother of his children. Mr Packer has since been rumoured to have started a relationship with Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, who separated from actor Orlando Bloom two months after the Packer split.
The fight took place just hours after Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper published an interview with Kerr, who said she had not been in a relationship with anyone since separating from Bloom and that Mr Packer has “been a friend for many years”.
Among the numerous high-profile business people and television celebrities who arrived at Mr Packer’s house yesterday to offer support and try to broker peace was Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and a former business partner of Mr Packer’s.
The younger Murdoch – a close friend of both the brawlers – has worked on numerous business ventures with the younger Packer, including an attempt to revive Network Ten, an ailing television station.
But Mr Murdoch’s intervention yesterday did not prevent his family’s media empire News Corp – of which he is non-executive co-chairman - announcing it had secured exclusive “Packer Gyngell fight photos”, allegedly for more than $AUS200,000. Mr Gyngell’s Channel Nine was also reportedly a bidder for the photos.
The set of 50 pictures was apparently taken by a photographer who was stalking Mr Packer’s home at Sydney’s Bondi beach on Sunday hoping for a glimpse of Kerr.
Mr Gyngell, wearing a suit and having shaved his beard, visited Mr Packer yesterday morning and the two released a statement via Channel Nine, saying they remained “friends”.
"We have been friends for 35 years and still are," read the statement.
"In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further."
Mr Packer’s first wife was a swimsuit model and he was known, when younger, for his pursuit of various fashion models and Penthouse Pets. He has at times suffered depression and heavy weight gain and received help from his close friend Tom Cruise after the breakdown of his first marriage.
The “mad dog” brawl on Sunday at 2pm made headlines across the country and reportedly left Mr Packer with a black eye.
“Holy crap, big street fight outside my house,” said a bystander, Chris Walker, on Facebook. “Not thugs, James Packer ... And some other angry bloke going toe to toe - total brawl .. Wow.”
The photos were splashed across several pages of the Murdoch stable’s tabloids in Australia on Tuesday.
They sgow Mr Packer on top and with Mr Gyngell’s head in a grip and his feet kicking in the air. Mr Packer is eventually seen being pulled off and then appears walking away with a defiant look.