Did James Packer and David Gyngell, heavyweight Australian businessmen, square up over Miranda Kerr?

Casino mogul and TV executive brawl outside £11m apartment

Sydney

They look for all the world like two drunken louts brawling in the gutter after being ejected from a seedy pub.

But the fight – captured in photographs which are set to go viral – took place between two of Australia’s leading businessmen, the billionaire James Packer and the TV executive David Gyngell, two men who were once the closest of friends.

The fight – described by one witness as being “like two mad dogs going at each other’s throats” with at least one combatant losing a tooth – erupted on Sunday afternoon outside Mr Packer’s A$20m (£11m) apartment overlooking Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

Yesterday the photos hit the market, where they were snapped up by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp papers for a reported A$200,000.

Mr Murdoch’s tabloids were set to publish them on their websites at 9pm yesterday, along with video footage of the brawl. Ironically, Mr Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan, who was recently appointed non-executive co-chairman of News Corp and is a friend of Mr Packer’s, visited the businessman’s flat yesterday.

James Packer, left, was ‘scarlet with rage, his neck veins bulging. It took three men to pull him off’ James Packer, left, was ‘scarlet with rage, his neck veins bulging. It took three men to pull him off’ News of the fight – during which punches were traded and the heavily built Mr Packer, 46, grabbed Mr Gygnell, 47, in a headlock – sparked feverish interest, with various theories emerging for the bad blood between the life-long friends.

The pair’s relationship apparently soured last year after Mr Gyngell – whose father, Bruce, created the “sofa format” of breakfast TV in the UK – castigated Mr Packer, son of the late media mogul Kerry Packer, for walking out on his wife, Erica, and three children.

The spark, though, may have been Mr Packer spotting a Nine Network satellite TV news van parked outside his flat; he believed it was trying to catch him with the Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr. According to the gossip columnists, he is dating Ms Kerr, who split up with her actor husband Orlando Bloom last year. The van apparently belonged to a Nine employee who happened to live in the same street.

The fireworks began when Mr Gyngell – chief executive of Nine Entertainment, which owns the Nine Network – drew up in Mr Packer’s driveway in a white Audi SUV. Barefoot and unshaven, he had just been surfing at Bondi.

According to neighbours, he conducted a heated, expletive-laden phone conversation during which he threatened to punch his interlocutor – presumably Mr Packer, an international casino mogul. Moments later, Mr Packer arrived in a black chauffeured sedan.

“Within seconds it just exploded,” said the photographer Brendan Beirne, who had been staking out the flat. “They were beating the hell out of each other.” Some of the photos already circulating show Mr Packer scarlet with rage, his neck veins bulging. It took three men – including Mr Packer’s driver and security guard – to pull him off.

By another irony, among the media organisations which News Corp outbid for the photos, was the Nine Network.

The two men issued a joint statement yesterday saying that they had been friends for 35 years “and still are”, adding that “in that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs”.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried