Go figure: The <i>Telegraph's</i> online image of the Packer-Gyngell brawl.

Go figure: The Telegraph's online image of the Packer-Gyngell brawl. Photos: Brendan Beirne/Sione Chown, Media Mode

Photos of James Packer and David Gyngell fighting arrived in media inboxes about 7.45am, setting off frenetic bidding for the explosive images.

From opening bids of $2000 the price skyrocketed to a final offer which sealed the deal, made about 1pm, understood to be close to $250,000 from the Murdoch press.

As the Murdochs closed the deal with the paparazzi who took the shots, it was Lachlan Murdoch who spent an hour with Packer, emerging just before 2pm as word spread the photos, along with video footage, would be splashed across the Murdoch press.

Clearly Mr Murdoch’s visit was intended to soothe the billionaire and prepare him for the oncoming media onslaught.

Ironically the Murdoch press was bidding against Gyngell’s own Channel Nine news department, which eventually pulled out of the race just before lunchtime.

Those close to Mr Gyngell said he was deeply embarrassed by the altercation but had resigned himself to it becoming public knowledge – indeed, it was a story he was unable to stop.

Throughout the day Mr Packer received a steady stream of close associates including his trusted lieutenant John Alexander, a former editor of The Sydney Morning Herald who has become the billionaire’s chief adviser and no doubt provided his own sage advice on how to deal with unfolding scandal.

Mr Gyngell himself was the first to call on Mr Packer on Monday, emerging at about 10am after spending under an hour with the billionaire, only to release a short and carefully worded statement attempting to downplay the fracas.

But those closest to both men say their lifelong friendship had been strained by months of increasing tension, stemming from Mr Packer’s sudden split with his second wife Erica, the mother of his three children.

That tension was compounded on Sunday morning when Mr Packer, still on board his private jet en route to Sydney, had received word that a Channel Nine news truck was parked near his Bondi home.

It was Mr Packer who approached Mr Gyngell asking him if he was about to be doorstopped. But Mr Gyngell had assured him the truck belonged to an employee on call who happened to live near Mr Packer.

However Sydney’s paparazzi were already swirling since Friday’s arrival of Mr Packer’s rumoured girlfriend Miranda Kerr.

A shot of the supermodel arriving at Mr Packer’s home would command seriously big money from the gossip magazines, but not even the photographers who caught Sunday’s bust-up could have predicted the shots they eventually caught.

By 4pm News Corporation had started disseminating its prized photos, covered in its corporate logo, rendering the shots almost incomprehensible given the spaghetti-like watermark camouflage, which quickly became the subject of social media parodies.