The Sydney Morning Herald

Aussie Billionaire Brawls With TV Mogul In Public Fistfight

Australian billionaire and gambling magnate James Packer got into a public fistfight with TV executive David Gyngell in Sydney Sunday.

By Matt Picht | May 5, 2014

In today's edition of "News That Makes You Wish You Lived In Australia," a billionaire and a media kingpin decided to settle a personal dispute in the most macho way possible: a bare-fisted brawl on the streets of Sydney. And yes, there is video.

Weighing in at a net worth of $6.4 billion, gambling mogul James Packer — that's him on top, in the grey shirt — traded blows Sunday afternoon with his childhood friend David Gyngell outside of Packer's home. (Via The Herald Sun)

According to NineMSN, the two men were fighting over a Nine Network News TV truck parked near Packer's home. Gyngell is the CEO of Nine Network News, and Packer apparently sent him an irate text telling him to move the truck. 

Gyngell then drove by Packer's place and waited outside the apartment for the billionaire to return home. And the fight was on.

"The chaps ended up in a fairly hefty round of punches before wrestling one another to the ground. They had to be prised off each other by what appeared to be James Packer's bodyguards." (Via The Sydney Morning Herald)

Packer and Gyngell have been friends since they were schoolmates, but there's been some bad blood between the two recently. The Telegraph reports Gyngell fell out with Packer over his recent divorce from his second wife.

Rumors abounded that Packer's divorce was rooted in a relationship the gambling magnate had struck up with model Miranda Kerr — and in fact, the Packer-Gyngell punch-up was captured by a photog stalking Packer's home, looking for a glimpse of Kerr. (Via The Telegraph)

The paparrazo captured about 50 photos of the brawl — all of which, according to The Guardian, were snapped up by News Corp for the tidy sum of $200,000.

News Corp later released heavily watermarked versions of the pictures, which were lampooned almost immediately on Twitter. (Via Twitter / @gusbru07, @burgotastic)

Neither of the combatants were seriously injured during the scuffle, though Packer was sporting a black eye later on. But as a Sydney Morning Herald writer points out, a public brawl could spell trouble for Packer's casino empire.

"The fallout could still be very costly as he vies for business potentially worth billions of dollars in Asia. ... The Japanese government is expected to be especially sensitive about the reputations of the parties involved with its proposed casinos as it overcomes long-held opposition to casinos in the country."

Packer and Gyngell appear to have patched things up after the brawl. In a joint statement, the two men said they have been friends for 35 years and that fact hasn't changed.

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