Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, who died on Monday, has kept the business in the family.

His only son James (38), currently executive chairman of the Publishing & Broadcasting empire which owns the country's Nine Network television station, numerous publications and gambling concerns, will now control the company.

Says financial analyst Craig James: "PBL has had detailed succession plans in place, so while this is a sad loss and a shock for the company, clearly it will be business as usual."

He warned the company's stock might fall when trading re-opened after the holiday season but stressed: "Once it's clear who will be running the company from here on and what role James Packer wants to take in the company ... PBL's share price will rise."

And Harold Mitchell, chairman of Mitchell & Partners, Australia's largest media buyer, is equally confident Packer Junior is up to the task: "He's financially literate, he's tough, he's strong, he's clever."

James has recently been giving evidence in court during the OneTel lawsuit. He was a non-executive director of the collapsed telco in which he persuaded his late father to invest [WAMN: 15-Dec-05].

Data sourced from Press Association and Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff