Did James Packer and David Gyngell, heavyweight Australian businessmen, square up over Miranda Kerr?
Casino mogul and TV executive brawl outside £11m apartment
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’ 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”.
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...