Packer v Stokes: James makes his move

Rose Major

James Packerís A$500 million war chest will indeed be used to try to cement his position in pay-TV investment vehicle Consolidated Media Holdings against challenger Kerry Stokes.

Following ConsMediaís announcement that it would sell its 27% in Seek for A$440 million and its own HQ for A$50 million, ConsMedia added its plans to acquire up to 10% of its own stock via an on-market buyback over the next year. That should see Packer end up with 45% of the company, rather than the 40.8% he currently owns. Kerry Stokesí Seven Network has amassed 19.9% over the last few months.

ConsMediaís 25% of Foxtel and 50% of Premier Media Group, which operates the Fox Sports channels, are all that remain of the media investments built up by James Packerís father Kerry. Packer Jr has instead focused his attention on gaming investments including casinos.

But with family rival Stokes eyeing what remains of the Packer family jewels, it seems that James may have chosen to act.