'My personal life is a disaster'

JESSICA GARDNER
Last updated 14:25 04/03/2014
James Packer
Fairfax Media
PATCHY PERSONAL LIFE: Packer split from the mother his three children, Erica, last year and has since been linked to supermodel Miranda Kerr.

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Billionaire Australian businessman James Packer says that despite running a casino empire that stretches across Australia and Asia, his home life is "a disaster".

In an interview with US business magazine Forbes to mark the magazine's list of global billionaires, in which the Crown Resorts chairman is ranked 208th with wealth of US$6.5 billion ($7.8 billion), Packer said he had made "a bunch of mistakes in my life".

"Business is good right now, but now my personal life is a disaster," he told the magazine.

"I had a marriage breakdown last year," he said. "The last thing I think I am is perfect. I'm just trying to do the best job I can. I'm trying to be the best father I can to my kids. I'm trying to do the best job I can running my business."

The casino magnate is the second-highest ranked Australian, behind Hancock Prospecting executive chair Gina Rinehart, with wealth of US$17.7b.

Packer split from the mother his three children, Erica, last year and has since been linked to supermodel Miranda Kerr.

Packer may have given a rare glimpse of his patchy personal life, but his outlook was not downbeat. Buoyed by the success of the ever-expanding Asian casino footprint he said his new film venture with Hollywood director Brett Ratner, RatPac Entertainment, will also focus on the rising wealth of China's middle class.

"The thing that was at the centre of our thinking all along is the rise of China," he said. "I think ten years from now a bunch of studios will say, 'Why didn't we do more in China?' "

RatPac will diversify into television, book publishing and documentary making, and will be especially focused Asia, according to Forbes.

Ratner told the magazine that casinos and film were similar businesses in that they were both about entertainment. "What you're selling is an experience," he said. "You're selling adrenaline."

Packer appeared on the cover of last month's edition of Forbes Asia and revealed how reliant his wealth was on the fortunes of China.

"I've now got more of my money in China than anywhere else, more probably than in Australia," he told Forbes Asia.

In the current edition he revealed that although he watched his father, media magnate Kerry Packer, lose millions in casinos they were good times.

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"As a kid I saw that Dad lost a lot of money in casinos, and I didn't understand that," he said. "I thought this must be a great business."

Packer said he came to know casinos as "a really cool business" that was fun and glamorous.

"As I got older I realised that he knew what he was doing," he said. "He was prepared to spend some of the money that he made to make himself feel better by giving himself an adrenaline rush. ... Some of the happiest times I ever saw my dad was times when I was with him in the casinos and he had a good night."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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