Flush from banking $81 million following the sale of his major share in Macquarie Media, John Singleton is planning a big finish before he expires.
Flush from banking $81 million following the sale of his major share in Macquarie Media, John Singleton is planning a big finish before he expires.

Singo sets sights on new multimillion-dollar island toy

He's a bit deaf - though his hearing has greatly improved thanks to the miracle of a cochlear implant.

And he has a cardiac condition, heart arrhythmia, that requires some vigilance.

A series of mini-stokes that might worry a more heedful man in his 79th year are, he tells friends, just a minor inconvenience.

He still loves a drink and his phone texts are a shambles, simultaneously both a source of amusement to friends and sometimes concern to his far-afield children some of whom use the spelling errors to gauge what sort of day their old man is having.

John Singleton with partner Venessa Merrin.
John Singleton with partner Venessa Merrin.

Yet flush from banking $81 million following the sale of his major share in Macquarie Media to Nine last year, John Singleton is planning a big finish before he expires from the rigours of consuming too much beer and too many women over the course of a wild lifetime.

Sings is now preoccupied with sinking some of the money into a new mansion in Hawaii while entertaining gal pals at home and abroad.

Sources close to Singleton last week confirmed the one-time adman turned media boss, restaurateur and investor has purchased beachfront land on the volcanic archipelago with a view to retiring to the island next year and celebrating his 80th birthday there.

Singleton could not be reached to confirm the location of his building site but friends said it was on the island of Oahu, home to the Hawaiian capital Honolulu, Pearl Harbour and birthplace of Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Bruno Mars and Barack Obama.

Singo is apparently planning to build a home in Hawaii.
Singo is apparently planning to build a home in Hawaii.

Twenty acre beachfront properties sell for $20 million on Oahu and close sources say Singleton - whose net worth was last year put at around $750 million - long ago expressed an interest in having a home on the Waikiki beach strip.

"He plans to spend a portion of the year there and a portion of the year here - and he has an American friend so that would mean he'd have some company," said one source.

With the much-married Singleton unwilling to take calls, this column is unable to confirm talk to him about his love life.

Locally he continues to see - on and off - Venessa Merrin, a mature and glamorous ad executive with whom Singleton has been associated for six years.

Merrin works in New York at Madison Media, a company that specialises in placing ads in in-flight magazines, which might actually make her the "American girlfriend" associated with Singleton although she is actually Australian.

Merrin was first linked to Singleton in 2014 then in 2016 the 57-year-old accompanied him to the Magic Millions sales on the Gold Coast.

Singo pocketed more than $80m when he sold his stake in Macquarie Media to Nine last year. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Singo pocketed more than $80m when he sold his stake in Macquarie Media to Nine last year. Picture: Justin Lloyd

Singleton said at the time the couple had known each other "for years".

Merrin was previously married to retired ad executive Alfred Merrin with whom she has two children. Singleton has seven with six former wives and partners.

Sources last week said Singleton's relationship with Merrin is reminiscent of Greg Norman's with Australian Kirsten Kutner, a long time friend of Norman's before the pair finally made a commitment and married.

Meanwhile Singleton, whose been known to have good timing in business, has been openly lamenting his decision to build in Hawaii during the COVID-19 crisis.

"He isn't sure when he'll get back to Hawaii to check on things or when he might hope the house might be finished so that he can move in, but he's optimistic it will be finished before he's too old to see it although an 80th birthday party knees up might be off the table now," said one last week.

Originally published as Singo sets sights on new multimillion-dollar island toy


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