Funeral held for Kerry Packer

MUMBAI: A funeral service for the late Australian media moghul Kerry Packer was held today on his rural New South Wales property, Ellerston.

A statement sent by the family said that at a brief service, they gave thanks for a life of courage and giving. "Kerry is now at peace."

A hearse entered Ellerston property with only the immediate family around to bid their final farewell. With the media magnate's passion for polo and intensely private nature well documented, Ellerston proved a fitting location to close the final chapter on Australia's richest man, state media reports.

Battling many health ailments over long years, Packer died on Monday at his Sydney home of kidney failure. A public memorial service takes place next year.

Packer was Australia's richest man - thought to be worth A$6.9billion (or nearly ?3billion).- he had made success or lost money in many different businesses from television stations, magazines, films, cattle stations, engineering works, property and building, ski resorts, plantations, mines, chemicals and mineral water.

His empire meant a holding of 30 per cent in Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd.,(PBL) which operates Australia's Channel Nine television network, publishes a bunch of magazines, and has interests in Australian casinos.

James Packer returned to work just 36 hours after his father's death, and began the process of taking charge of the media and gaming giant at PBL. He is to face his first challenge with the Seven and Ten networks expected to counter Nine's rights to broadcast AFL.

Kerry Packer had secured the $780 million deal for the Nine Network just days before his death. The new agreement, starting in 2007, dwarves the current $500 million, five-year agreement involving Nine, Ten and Foxtel.

Seven and Ten have until January 6 to match Nine's five-year offer.

The PBL board have given their public support behind James and his charge of the company. Chief executive John Alexander said on on behalf of the board, "(James) has a very clear vision for the future development of the company which was enthusiastically supported by the board."

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