The dinosaurs are restless again. Australia’s last remaining putative media moguls, “Little” Kerry Stokes and “Big” Kerry’s son James Packer, are locking horns over the rump of the media empire that Kerry Packer built.

James Packer has lifted his stake in Consolidated Media Holdings over the past two days to more than 39% to ward off a $150 million-plus buying raid said to be coming from Kerry Stokes, controller of the Seven Network.

In three filings with the ASX this morning, Packer’s company Consolidated Press revealed that more than $27 million dollars had been spent buying shares.

One filing said Mr Packer bought 9.6 million Cons Media shares for $24.7 million, but a substantial shareholding notice said that Cons Media lifted its stake from 258.7 million shares, to 271.17 million shares (or from 38.42% to 39.2%).

As of midday there had been no filing from any other party. Mr Stokes has until late today to make a filing if he’s the buyer. There have been rumours that he has had an economic interest in 4.8% of Cons Media, but not ownership of any holding, direct or through a derivative, such as an option.

Mr Stokes has his eye on a chance to get into Foxtel and Premier Media, which will have earned around half a billion dollars or more in trading profits in the year to June 30. That’s vastly more than Seven and the rest of the free TV sector will make as they wallow in a cost/revenue squeeze that has killed profits. Foxtel and Premier Media, which controls Fox Sports (and is the most profitable business in the Australian media) haven’t been hurt by the crunch as much as the free to air industry because they rely more on regular payments from more than 1.5 million subscribers.

The reports say Mr Stokes has built a stake of 18%, which would be more than 124 million shares, at a cost of over $300 million. Seven has refused to comment on the reports.

Stokes has already assembled a $300 million stake in Telstra, which provides him and Seven with low tax dividend income to offset against any earnings Seven might have, which wouldn’t be very much at the moment. But he has also lost hundreds of millions of dollars on his move into West Australian Newspapers.

Seven Network has around $1.2 billion left over from selling half of Seven TV Network and Pacific Magazines to the KKR buyout group in the US. There’s speculation that KKR could be partnering Seven in the deal.