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May 19, 2005

Bruce Gordon lets it all hang out

For those who follow the media, there was only one story to read in BRW's 2005 Rich List edition – 76-year-old billionaire Bermuda resident Bruce Gordon letting it all hang o


For those who follow the media, there was only one story to read in BRW’s
2005 Rich List edition – 76-year-old billionaire Bermuda resident Bruce
Gordon letting it all hang out about a life-time bumping up against
fellow billionaire media moguls.

Despite not much happening
during the year, Gordon’s wealth is estimated to have soared from $660
million to $1.3 billion, which might be explained by the fact that
Gordon opened up to BRW, although the prospect of media
deregulation certainly helped, given Gordon’s WIN Corporation is the
biggest Nine Network regional affiliate and owns 42% of Channel Nine in

It was a good interview by Stuart Washington with
lots of amusing anecdotes from the big-talking entrepreneur, who tends
to confirm the theory that there is no wealthier or more powerful
industry than media in Australia. Try these quotes for size:

“I said, ‘Frank, you are making a terrible mistake.'” –
Gordon’s advice to Frank Lowy when he paid News Corp $800 million for
control of Channel Ten in the late 1980s.

“I am the idiot that
got (Kerry) Stokes into the television business.” – Gordon telling the
yarn of how he encouraged Stokes to buy a slice of a Bunbury television
station because of the cross-promotion potential with a shopping centre
he was developing.

“If I call Rupert he picks up the phone…
When I finished the conversation (with Rupert about Paramount matters),
a couple of the Yanks looked at me incredulously: ‘He answered the
phone to you?’ ” – Gordon gloating about his relationship with the
world’s most powerful media mogul.

“Kerry Packer has always been
a good friend. But he’s a tough man. You don’t get benefits out of
Kerry because you’re a friend… we pay the highest affiliation rates
of any network in Australia.” – Gordon has enjoyed plenty of benefits
surfing on the coat-tails of Nine’s long reign as number one.

have a very close relationship with West Australian Newspapers. They
are dying to do something with us. Ian Law, who runs WA News… he
would love to expand into television.” – Gordon being indiscreet about
potential partners in the forthcoming media merger mania.

just laughed at it. We thought it was quite humorous.” – Gordon
dismissing a recent offer from Macquarie Bank, who had just bought out
the regional media assets from another Bermuda-based mogul, Reg Grundy.

“We have successfully lost a million dollars a year, every year that we have owned Crawfords.” – the salad days of The Sullivans and The Flying Doctors are clearly long gone.

don’t think the average Wollongong person would have any understanding
of the power of both WIN Corporation’s and Bruce Gordon’s financial
status.” – son Mitchell Gordon, a former editor of the Fairfax-owned Illawara Mercury.


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