MediaFile

Sun Valley: A Who’s Who in pictures

Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can think of will be camping out in the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. Here are just a few…

Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, Michael Larson of Cascade Investments and Ron Meyer, president and COO Universal Studios arrive at the Sun Valley Inn.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActivecorp, arrive at the Sun Valley Inn with Eric Eisner.

Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, arrives at the Sun Valley Inn with his wife Debbie

Chairman of Liberty Media John Malone (and a gaggle of press)

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation

Herb Allen, president and CEO of investment bank Allen & Company, which hosts the event.

Swine flu talk spikes up on Facebook

Facebook has been mapping swine flu discussions among its members for the past few days using its Lexicon application, and it’s pretty cool to see how the conversation on Wall posts shot up over the weekend as more and more cases of the disease came to light in the United States.

Lexicon, for those who don’t have to follow Facebook’s every move, is a tool the social networking site uses to follow trends on words and phrases that are being used on “Walls,” the open space on each member’s profile where friends can post comments. Kind of like how you can take the pulse of topics trending up or down in Twitter search.

The chart below, courtesy of Facebook, shows how there were no mentions of the term “swine flu” before the evening of April 23 on any of its 200 million members’ walls, but people start discussing it quite a bit over the next two days, causing a sharp upward spike.

Icahn to Yahoo: We’ve lost faith

carl-icahn.jpgBillionaire investor Carl Icahn fired a salvo at Yahoo on Thursday morning, threatening a proxy fight unless Yahoo gets Microsoft back to the negotiating table.******In a letter to Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock he said Yahoo’s board had acted “irrationally” in turning away an offer that amounted to a 72 percent premium and warned Yahoo not to announce any “strategic alternatives” (such as a deal with AOL or Google) without a shareholder vote.***

I am perplexed by the board’s actions. It is irresponsible to hide behind management’s more than overly optimistic financial forecasts. It is unconscionable that you have not allowed your shareholders to choose to accept an offer that represented a 72% premium over Yahoo’s closing price of $19.18 on the day before the initial Microsoft offer. I and many of your shareholders strongly believe that a combination between Yahoo and Microsoft would form a dynamic company and more importantly would be a force strong enough to compete with Google on the Internet.

***Icahn also disclosed he has purchased 59 million shares and has sought antitrust clearance from the FTC to acquire up to approximately $2.5 billion worth of Yahoo stock.******Microsoft has remained quiet so far. Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Icahn had been yet unable to lock in Microsoft’s support.******Also, despite having nominated a 10-member slate, which include Icahn, former Viacom chief Frank Biondi, Icahn Enterprise’s vice chairman Keith Meister, former New Line co-CEO Robert Shaye and corporate governance expert Lucian Bebchuk, he could yet settle for a smaller slate of Yahoo directors.******After spending a week telling the world how uninterested they are in Yahoo, Microsoft has remained quiet so far.******(Reuters)******Keep an eye on:***

    *** CBS to buy CNET Networks for $1.8 billion to boost its Web presence, and maybe laying to rest a CNET activist investor fight (Reuters)

    *** Ask.com to expand its vocabulary with plans to buy Lexico, owner of Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com (Reuters)

    ***

***(Picture: Reuters / Icahn at the Lazard presentation during the Time Warner battle.)

Malone, Diller and the story that ended the affair

maffei-sun-valley.jpgMedia titans John Malone and Barry Diller knew they had their fair share of disagreements over the years, but like many couples heading to divorce, they apparently needed someone else to tell them that.

Enter Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Vascellaro.

The media industry read with rapt interest her story in October that put in plain language how much tension had built up between the two over their partnership in IAC/InterActiveCorp. 

But as the two moguls duke it out in Delaware court this week, they keep invoking that story, day after day, as the moment that sent their relationship past the point of no return.