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James Packer’s new yacht ready to set sail

Fri, Jul 26, 8:07am by Staff Writer

James Packer’s biggest ever mega yacht has taken four years to complete and the budget has blown out by $50 million, but the Los Angeles-based billionaire is about to set sail into a whole new world of luxury.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that with a final cost of $200 million, the 108m giga yacht is among the biggest in the world.

It will be the second time the casino mogul has named a boat using the initials of his children.

This vessel is called IJE and his previous superyacht was EJI, after his children Emmanuelle, Jackson and Indigo.

The boat’s construction had been overseen by Mr Packer’s great mate Matthew Csidei, who was in charge of the “ministry of fun”, Mr Packer’s portfolio of planes, boats and homes.

But Mr Csidei mysteriously left Mr Packer’s private investment company CPH in 2017.

The giga-yacht’s budget ballooned from the original $150 million and it was long delayed launching out of the Benetti shipyard in the port city of Livorno, Italy.

It has since hit the water and Mr Packer is expected to step on board in coming weeks.

The boat’s handover comes as things are looking up for Mr Packer after several torrid years, marred by an ugly bust up with singer Mariah Carey and his revelation he was suffering mental health problems.

In May, he pocketed $1.8 billion selling part of his shares in his Crown Resorts casino empire to Chinese gaming mogul Lawrence Ho

Earlier this month, he was snapped with girlfriend Kylie Lim in Capri.

The new vessel features a cinema, fire-pit, heated swimming pool and 1000 square metre open deck space.

It’s an upgrade from the days when Mr Packer owned the nine-bedroom $50 million Z Ellerston yacht and leaves in its wake his late father Kerry Packer’s old converted icebreaker Arctic P.

Mr Packer’s sister Gretel took the 88 metre Arctic P in the settlement the siblings reached over their father’s estate two years ago.

Big shoes to fill

Soon after the collapse of Australian phone company One.Tel, James Packer had to shoulder the biggest inheritance in Australian history following the death of his father Kerry.

Still in his father’s shadow, James set out to transform his late father’s media empire into an international business equipped for the digital era.

He amassed a collection of casino and entertainment assets that reached beyond Australia into North America and Macau.

That sprawl included stakes in award-winning Japanese restaurant Nobu and movie production company Ratpac.

Packer’s most high profile new venture was in Macau with Lawrence Ho, the son of casino kingpin Stanley Ho.

Macau a turning point

The young billionaires opened their first Macau casino in 2007, with hopes of luring mainland China’s biggest bettors.

Packer’s global ambitions took at this time, when Chinese authorities rounded up Crown’s staff on the mainland.

A court convicted 19 current and former employees for illegally promoting gambling.

According to Kitney’s biography and based on extension interviews with Packer, the arrests hit the billionaire hard.

Packer was at the time staying in a house in Los Angeles with close friend Warren Beatty.

Packer recalls in the book that he was drinking as much as a bottle of vodka everyday, with Beatty driving him to a psychiatrist for medication.

The episode made Packer desire a more simplistic life and he lived for an extensive period at his polo estate in Argentina.

Crown had closed almost all of its regional marketing offices in Asia within a year of the China debacle.

This funneled big stakes players to Australia and sold out of the Macau casino venue.

The company also ditched a plot in Las Vegas where Packer once hoped to build a casino.

Wynn’s $14.75 a share proposal would have shrunk Packer’s share in Crown to a smaller take in the US gaming giant, which owns resorts in Las Vegas and Macau.

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