Kerry Packer 'knew he was on borrowed time'

The late Australian media mogul Kerry Packer knew he was dying late last week but refused further treatment, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

Packer—listed by Forbes magazine this year as the 94th richest man in the world with a $5-billion fortune—died at his Sydney home on Monday evening at the age of 68.

Dr Ian Bailey, Packer’s cardiologist, said the billionaire knew last week that he was dying as his heart and last remaining kidney had started to fail, according to the Daily Telegraph and The Australian newspapers.

“He knew he was on borrowed time. He could have opted for more dialysis, but he chose to go quickly and with dignity,” the Telegraph quoted Bailey as saying.

Bailey could not be immediately contacted for comment on Wednesday.

Analysts had predicted that shares in the Packer family’s media and gaming empire, Publishing & Broadcasting, could fall as much as 10% because of the death when the Australian share market reopened on Wednesday after the Christmas break.

But PBL shares slipped only 1,4% by the end of a morning of low-volume trading on the Australian Stock Exchange.

“It’s not surprising (that) we haven’t seen an enormous movement in the share price,” said David Halliday, a client adviser at Macquarie Equities. “The company is much bigger than just Kerry and the market has certainly demonstrated that in the way it’s reacted.”

James Packer (38) the elder of Kerry Packer’s two children, is set to become the fourth generation of the Packer dynasty to run the family business.

The younger Packer has steadily assumed greater responsibility within PBL, becoming managing director in 1996 then executive chairman in 1998.

He announced in August that PBL’s net profit fell 28% to Aus$480,1-million ($363,4-million) for the fiscal year ending on June 30 after a difficult 12 months for

its television business.

PBL owns Australia’s largest casino, Melbourne’s Crown Casino and recently acquired Burswood Casino in the west coast city of Perth.

Alongside Hong Kong-listed Melco, PBL is building two casinos in Macau, dubbed Asia’s Las Vegas, with Asian businessman Stanley Ho, and is tendering to develop Singapore’s first casinos.
- Sapa-AP

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