James Packer Street Brawl with Media
Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Film financier and best-friend separated by bodyguards

HONG KONG – Billionaire Australian film financier James Packer and media executive David Gyngell were Sunday involved in a vicious public fist-fight.

The incident occurred in the early afternoon outside Packer’s apartment in Sydney’s Bondi Beach area, where Gyngell had been waiting for Packer to return from the airport.

According to local Australian media the pair did not greet each other, but instead launched immediately into an argument, followed by a brawl in which they traded punches and wrestled each other to the ground. They had to be separated by Packer’s bodyguards before both withdrew.

A medical professional later attended to Packer, and eye witnesses report household staff searching the street for missing teeth.

The two men are both the well-heeled sons of Australian media moguls, Kerry Packer and Bruce Gyngell respectively, and have been life-long friends. Gyngell was best man at Packer’s 2007 marriage to Erica. Australian media have speculated that the recent collapse of Packer’s marriage has soured relations between the two men.

Gyngell is also the CEO of Australia’s Nine network, a major broadcast TV network that is part of the recently floated Nine Entertainment group.

Packer is head of a casino, property and media empire. He is also a film financier in business, through RatPac Entertainment, with Brett Ratner.

Gyngell returned to Packer’s home Monday morning in business attire.

“We have been friends for 35 years and still are. In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further,” they said in a statement later.

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