Sun Valley at the bar


Camping out at the Sun Valley Lodge bar on day 2 of Allen & Co’s annual Sun Valley mogul fest — a time honored tradition — is kind of like Disneyland for folks like us.

Slightly to extremely inebriated tycoons of the media and tech industry wander the lobby huddled in small groups chatting about stuff that few will remember in a few hours, while reporters try to keep pace with the liquor consumption and the conversation.

A quick snapshot:

    Google co-founder Sergey Brin on Yahoo: “Good company, good partner. A lot of excitement going on. For recent events, talk to the CEO.” We think he meant Yahoo’s Yang, who has yet to show up. Brin then realizes that standing next to him is Sony Executive Deputy President Katsumi Ihara. Ihara to Brin: “We called you last year about something and we never heard from you!” Brin to Ihara: “I have something for your TVs.” Out of nowhere, Sony CFO Rob Wiesenthal jumps in to rescue Ihara. Fun’s over. While I was chatting up Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg jumped in: “If he offered cable service in New York City, I’d switch in a second!” Brian fires back: “Let me tell you. Here’s the next President of the United States.” (We think he meant the next next President) Winner of high wattage table of the night:  Google co-founder Larry Page, Legg Mason’s Bill Miller (Yahoo investor), former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, Yahoo President Sue Decker, Davis Advisors’s Christopher Davis, Sergey Brin. In response to a question about what everyone talked about, Brin tells the AP reporter Jeremy Herron that he learned about money markets. 

(Photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking / (l to r) Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sergey Brin, Allen & Co.’s Nancy Peretsman at Sun Valley 2007)

Sun Valley fashion police

Further to our earlier post on the hottest looks in executive casual at Sun Valley, here are a few more outfits hot off the runway.

Who gets your vote for America’s next top model?

 Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Michael EisnerWarren Buffett  Debra LeePhilippe DaumanTom Brokaw  Mike Volpi and Toni CupalShelby Bonnie and Cassey WassermanAnne Sweeney

Henry KravisBill MillerRon Meyer

Mouse over the photos to identify your favorite executive and comment below.

(Photos: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

The price of privacy at Sun Valley


Grudging acceptance is one way to describe Allen & Co.’s reception to the gaggle of reporters and photographers who show up at its annual mogul fest year after year like bad pennies.

There are ground rules and they change periodically. They mostly leave us alone and we mostly stay out of attendees’ ways, especially the press-shy contingent.

But this year, Allen & Co banned reporters from setting up in the beloved cafe at the Inn, where most of the morning presentations take place. We’ve relocated to the lobby, where five lucky reporters sit in chairs to file stories and photos. (It is next to a faux fireplace, so we’re not complaining. They also brought coffee for the photographers this morning.)

Sun Valley – a sked of who’s where, when…

kingabdullah.jpgThanks to New York Times Andrew Ross Sorkin’s DealBook blog here’s a sked of who’s going to be speaking at this year’s annual media mogul and new media upstart get-together organized by Allen & Company in Idaho’s Sun Valley. founder Jeff Bezos, IAC/InterActive Corp’s CEO Barry Diller, and Google co-founder Larry Page will be among those speaking today.

Other key names speaking tomorrow include Sir Howard Stringer, chairman of Sony Corp. , Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of Dreamworks Animation.

Look who’s advertising in Sun Valley

sag-photo2.jpgThe Screen Actors Guild ran an ad in the local paper on Wednesday seeking better labor terms. We’re not talking about the L.A. Times here, but rather the Idaho Mountain Express, straight out of Sun Valley, Idaho, where Hollywood’s elite are bumping shoulders at the annual Allen & Co conference.

SAG was dealt a blow late Tuesday when another smaller Hollywood union ratified a new prime-time TV contract.  SAG’s contract talks stalemated last week over some of the same issues that led to a 14-week screenwriters’ strike that paralyzed Hollywood and centered on disagreements over how union talent should be paid for work created for the Internet.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists won final approval despite an unusual all-out campaign by SAG to vote down the AFTRA accord. A “no” vote would have given SAG more leverage to negotiate a more favorable settlement with studios.

Murdoch in Sun Valley: No deals

murdoch.jpgConsummate dealmaker Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corp, strolled into the Sun Valley Inn for the first full day of Allen & Co’s annual mogul retreat.

Asked by CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin whether he was buying anything, he shot back, “Not today. Not this week.”

That might provide some small comfort for shareholders who have sent shares of News Corp sinking close to 30 percent since the beginning of the year on a variety of issues, including a sluggish economy and threats of an advertising recession. Shareholders also craw about the dreaded “Murdoch Discount” — investor concern the media tycoon will suddenly make another a big purchase.

Moguls roll into Sun Valley

Media moguls — well really, tycoons of all kinds — trickled into the Sun Valley Lodge on Tuesday for Allen & Co’s annual pow wow in Sun Valley. Or, in the case of Rupert Murdoch, he drove a white Toyota SR5.

Here are some mugshots:

Rupert Murdoch

     Lachlan Murdoch     Bob Iger

Howard Stringer

     Gordon Crawford     Henry Vigil, Microsoft stategy chief
No wonder the swans got scared.

(Photos: Reuters)


Sun Valley’s secret guest

Every year a secret guest graces Allen & Co’s Sun Valley conference with his/her presence. Last year, Tony Blair quietly rolled in and lunched with Viacom chief Sumner Redstone, among other activities.

If you can figure out which country this flag belongs to, you’ve got the answer:


Thanks to Reuters photographer Rick Wilking for this one. Sun Valley Lodge staffers unfurled the flag and quickly took it down — likely after being told it was secret. We’re hearing from one guest that this year’s surprise attendee will be His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Valley of the moguls

Swan smallerThey call it the Duck Pond, but it’s actually teaming with (vicious) swans. It’s considered a big media and tech powwow, but a broad swath of global corporate titans of finance and politics round out the guest list.

It’s the 26th annual Allen & Co Sun Valley conference, where high-wattage huddles transpiring on the tranquil resort grounds among stunningly rich business people swathed in questionable leisure wear could end up in big deals months from now. The legend springs from the track record: AOL and Time Warner, Walt Disney and CapCities/ABC, Google and YouTube are all said to have gotten started here.

In between knitting (!), yoga, white-water rafting and golfing, and bridge (!) games execs like Google’s trio Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin mix it up Disney’s Bob Iger, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch.