Family Confidential featured in Sydney Morning Herald

23 Feb 2012

 

Robert Holmes a Court was so absorbed by the intoxicating world of corporate raiding that he neglected to make a will. When he unexpectedly keeled over from a heart attack in 1990, the complex business affairs attending his billion-dollar Bell Resources Group presented his family with a Gordian knot of problems that would strain even the mental sinew of his cousin, Sherlock Holmes a Court. Twenty years on, his wife Janet and four children reflect on how they tidied up the mire they inherited. Intrigues abounded- the mysterious disappearance of Robert's brother, Simon; the stows over Ansett with Rupert Murdoch; aggressive forays into media ownership, cement and Rolls-Royce Motors, plus profitable raids on Elders IXL and Carlton &United Breweries. Even a tilt at BHP and acquisition of the Beatles song catalogue.

If a man is judged by the quality of his enemies (let's call them business rivals), Holmes a Court was in rare company with the likes of John Spalvins, Kerry Packer, Murdoch, Alan Bond, John Elliott and Ron Brierley baring their formidable teeth at one stage or another. This is a documentary profile but it has all the makings of an action thriller.