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Former Nine Network owner Alan Bond dies aged 77

alan bondOne of the most colourful and controversial characters in Australian business Alan Bond has died aged 77.

Among Bond’s more notable business deals was his $1bn purchase of the Nine Network from Kerry Packer in 1987. However Packer took back control of the network  in 1992 when Bond was declared bankrupt. 

In a 2003 interview with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope Bond described the negotiations with Packer: “We arranged to meet in the Wentworth Hotel in the suite that I was over here staying in. And, er, when we first sat down, we said, “We’re either going to sell our stations to you for $400 million, or you’re going to sell your stations to us.” And he said, “Well, I don’t really want to sell my stations.” And I said, “Oh, is that right?” So, anyway, after much discussion, Kerry thumped the table and said, “Listen, if you can pay me $1 billion, I’ll sell them to you, otherwise bugger off.” And in those sort of tones, that was Kerry.”

Andrew Denton: “We’ve all had that conversation with Kerry, yes.”

Alan Bond: “And, um, so, I, um…I discussed it with, er, my colleagues and then I rang the National Australia Bank. I said, “Look, I’m in discussions here to buy these television stations. Kerry will sell to me, and what I want to do is put our stations together and then, with Sky Channel, I’m going to float it off as a separate entity and raise the capital to pay for it.” He said, “How much money do you need?” I said, “I think I’ll get it for $800 million. He said $1 billion, but I think I’ll get it for $800 million.” He said, “I’ll talk to some of the board directors and I’ll give you an answer tomorrow.” If you go and ask for $100,000 from the bank, they want to know everything about you and they give you an answer in a month. Anyway, you want $800 million…”

Andrew Denton: “Writing this down. $800 million — I can get it tomorrow. Beautiful.”

Alan Bond: “He duly rang back and said yes. I said, “Thank God. “I’ll go and have some further negotiations with Kerry,” which I did. And true to his word, he never budged one penny off it. So I settled the deal with $800 million and a $200 million note. So he put his own $200 million in. So I had $1 billion. And we put our other two stations up as collateral, which were worth probably $400 million.”

In 1997 Bond pleaded guilty to fraud charges for siphoning around $1.2bn from one of his companies to shore up another, and was sentenced to seven years in prison, serving four.

In 2007 Bond tried to sue journalist Paul Barry for an article he had written about his interests in a Lesotho diamond mining company, but the claim was rejected.

He died today after complications following open heart surgery in a hospital in Perth.

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