Competing James Packer biographies set to hit shelves

By Jennifer Duke
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Two biographies of casino mogul James Packer are in the works, both from high-profile journalists, but they’ll likely be very different reads on the billionaire’s life.

The first biography, announced by Fairfax Media’s n Financial Review journalist Aaron Patrick, is an unauthorised account, with the tentative title The Curse of the Mogul.

Mr Patrick has written extensively on the billionaire and called out favouritism from Mr Packer, who gave an exclusive interview to a rival paper, News Corp’s The n, in October.

News Corp’s co-chairman is Lachlan Murdoch, who is also a friend of Mr Packer.

And it’s a journalist from The n that will be behind this competing title – though editor John Lehmann would not confirm which member of staff would be writing it.

While associate editor Nick Tabakoff would be a likely candidate, given his track record as a former media editor and chief media writer, it’s understood he’s not set to author the new book.

Another potential would be Melbourne-based business editor Damon Kitney who has a long history of reporting on Mr Packer.

Mr Lehmann said it was a separate project not linked to the newspaper.

Mr Patrick would not confirm a publication date.

Neither writer will be short of material. Not only was it Mr Packer’s 50th birthday in 2017 but his $8 billion casino company, Crown Resorts, celebrated its 10th birthday during the year.

His interests have spanned businesses from SEEK, CarSales, Channel Nine, Network 10, Scoopon and the South Sydney Rabbitohs, to the film industry, forming joint venture RatPac Entertainment in 2012 and financing box office hit Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Ranked the ninth richest n on the AFR’s 2017 Rich List with a personal fortune of $4.75 billion, down $250 million on the 2016 result, his most visible project in recent years is a casino and hotel development underway in the inner-Sydney Barangaroo precinct.

ABC Media Watch host Paul Barry published an unauthorised and controversial documentary of James Packer in 2009, titled Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? The James Packer Story.

Critics at the time described Mr Packer, then 42, as too young for a biography.




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