×

Sun Valley: More Schmoozing Than Dealmaking So Far

SUN VALLEYHaim Saban sat down to chat with News Corp.’s Chase Carey and kicked off his shoes. It was the end of the second day of Allen & Co.’s conference at the Sun Valley Lodge, and Saban (pictured), stretched out in an upholstered chair in front of the Duchin bar, clearly wanted to relax.

Surrounded by fellow moguls, the two men talked for more than 10 minutes, saying “hi” to bigwigs like Comcast’s Brian Roberts and joking with sports magnate Robert Kraft. Disney’s Bob Iger and Activision’s Bobby Kotick wandered through separately after spending close to 20 minutes talking by the resort’s bicycle shop.

But the schmoozing seemed decidedly more pleasure than business, and several conference attendees agreed that Wednesday night was too early for any real dealmaking to be under way. Iger brushed off the idea of a Disney/Activision pair-up, pointing out that he and Kotick had been friends for years.

The lack of serious business is not surprising. Allen & Co.’s guest list is widely seen as a barometer of power amongst media and technology’s elite. The irony, however, is that these top newsmakers tend to spend their days trying to avoid the headlines, as their host frowns upon public statements. There have been exceptions, of course: Disney’s purchase of ABC/Capital Cities reportedly had its roots here, and Google’s Eric Schmidt plans to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Reporters, however, have restricted access to the grounds and are banned from the lodge’s bar after 5 p.m. For the most part, Allen & Co. just wants its moguls to enjoy the scenery and network.

“I’m just sitting down with a lot of folks and asking them how their business is and all that good stuff,” Sony Corp. chief Kazuo Hirai said as he walked leisurely into the Sun Valley Lodge on Thursday. “Just a lot of general talk.”

Things may get a little more heated up Saturday morning after the scheduled New Breed discussion. One of the many panels closed to the press, New Breed centers around identifying emerging companies. The talks centered around an infant YouTube in 2006, when its co-founder and then-CEO Chad Hurley was the belle of the ball. Less than three months later, Google purchased his streaming site for $1.65 billion.

Many of the execs roaming about in shorts and T-shirts have been working on high-profile deals outside of the confab, and speculation abounds about whether any of those discussions will be furthered here in Idaho. Peter Chernin can’t go anywhere without questions about his bid for Hulu, while DirecTV’s Michael White has been avoiding the press entirely.

Hirai has spent months denying that Sony Pictures was up for sale, but that hasn’t stopped potential suitors from approaching. Even so, Hirai said he hasn’t been dealing with that kind of interest at Allen & Co. this year.

“That discussion comes up everywhere,” Hirai said. “It doesn’t have to be in Sun Valley.”

More Biz

  • Wendy Goldstein Named Republic Records President,

    Republic Records Names Wendy Goldstein President of West Coast Creative

    Republic Records advances Wendy Goldstein to President of West Coast Creative, label co-founders and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman announced today. Goldstein has overseen the company’s Santa Monica office since 2017 as EVP of Republic Records. Over the past year, she headed up the label’s efforts for Ariana Grande’s  back-to-back No. 1 debuts for the singer’s “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next” albums, and [...]

  • The Traitor

    MMC Studios, One of Germany's Biggest Production Facilities, Changes Hands

    Germany’s MMC Studios, which has hosted such recent international productions as Joseph Gordon-Levitt thriller “7500” and Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes competition film “The Traitor,” is changing hands. Frankfurt-based investment company Novum Capital has acquired the facility in Cologne, one of Germany’s biggest film and TV studios, from Luxembourg private equity fund Lenbach Equity Opportunities I. The [...]

  • Hayley Kiyoko Signs Global Publishing Deal

    Hayley Kiyoko Signs Global Publishing Deal With Kobalt

    Singer-songwriter-actor Hayley Kiyoko, seen most recently in a cameo in Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” video, has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with Kobalt, the company announced today. The partnership includes publishing administration, creative services and synch for all of her catalogue and future works. Jamie Kinelski, VP, Creative, Kobalt said, “Hayley [...]

  • billy porter gay pride todd snyder

    How Hollywood Is Celebrating Pride Month

    Pride Month officially wraps up this weekend with the WorldPride Parade in New York. It takes on special significance this year, as attendees mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. A number of artists and brands are also getting involved, launching “Pride-themed” collaborations and merchandise in an effort to boost their own visibility within [...]

  • Shawn Strickland, Tony DiSanto - Allyance

    Tony DiSanto's Allyance Media Taps Verizon Veteran Shawn Strickland as President (EXCLUSIVE)

    Shawn Strickland, a veteran of Verizon and Complex Media, has joined Tony DiSanto’s Allyance Media Group as president. In the role, Strickland is heading up business operations and spearheading partnerships for the multiformat media and production company. DiSanto and financier Matthew Bruderman formed Allyance Media Group last year. The New York-based company encompasses DIGA Studios, [...]

  • Andy Signore Screen Junkies

    'Honest Trailers' Creator Andy Signore Settles Defy Media Suit

    Andy Signore, the creator of Screen Junkies’ “Honest Trailers,” has settled a lawsuit against Defy Media challenging his firing for alleged sexual misconduct. Signore was one of the first figures to lose his job in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein harassment revelations in October 2017. Defy Media, which then owned Screen Junkies, terminated him [...]

  • Singer-rapper Psy performs during the 70th

    YG Agency Boss Quits as K-Pop Scandals Expand

    Yang Hyun-suk last week resigned from his remaining positions at YG Entertainment. The talent agency he co-founded is deeply mired in a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch from drugs to prostitution. Problems started with the band Bigbang and its star Seungri, but now also encompass other YG artists. Hwang Bo-kyung was appointed as the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content