James Packer opens up about personal life and the business world in new interview

Billionaire media mogul James Packer has given an extraordinarily candid interview, delving into both his personal life and his views on the broader business world.

Speaking to The Nightly, a newly launched newspaper, Mr Packer said he would never do business in China, nor would he dabble in the casino industry again.

He also revealed he’s seeing someone new, having moved on from his brief engagement to American singer Mariah Carey.

“I’m at the very beginning of seeing someone again, so we’ll see what happens,” Mr Packer told the newspaper, adding that he was “hoping” to find love again.

Mr Packer has previously been married to Jodhi Meares, a fashion designer, and Erica Packer, a former singer, separating from them in 2002 and 2013, respectively.

His three children live in London with Erica – and during the brutally honest interview, Mr Packer conceded he could do better as a father.

“I’m not as good as father as I should be,” he admitted.

“I don’t spend as much time with my kids as I should.

“I have got to try to spend more time in London because they’re at a very formative age.

“Their mother does an amazing job and I’m very, very lucky that I’ve been married twice and I’m exceptionally close to Erica and Jodhi.

“That’s a source of real happiness in my life.”

Mr Packer’s famously tangled love life is no more complicated than his business interests. Again displaying a rare bluntness, he told The Nightly that autocratic Chinese President Xi Jinping had made the country “uninvestible”.

I’m not going to go back to China. No way,” he said.

“I think Xi Jinping has set China back 20 years.

“Fifteen years ago, the Communist Party got their legitimacy from delivering economic growth. You had people from all around the world looking to invest in China.

“I think Xi Jinping has made China uninvestible.”

Another area to now be shunned is the gambling industry. And with very good reason. Mr Packer’s casino group, Crown Resorts, was exposed by an embarrassing inquiry earlier this decade, which uncovered gross oversights in its corporate governance.

Under questioning during the inquiry, Mr Packer himself admitted to a number of personal failings, which included his absence from board meetings for more than three years.

“I accept Crown did things that it shouldn’t have done and I apologise for that,” he said.

“But the way the governments changed tax rates, changed deals, broke contracts … is a lesson to me in never wanting to be in regulated businesses again.

“I never want to go near a business like that again.”

Mr Packer ultimately sold his 37 per cent share of Crown to an American private equity firm in 2022, yielding a cool $3.3 billion.

His hand was, to an extent, forced, as a Victorian royal commission had recommended slashing his stake to less than 5 per cent. The state government had readily accepted that recommendation.

The article notes that Mr Packer is, for the first time in his life, debt free, which has worked wonders for his “physical and mental health”.

“I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year,” Mr Packer said.

“Mentally I think I’m better than I’ve been for a while.

“I am just trying to be sensible and enjoy life more and be more relaxed.”

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