×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • John Malone

    John Malone Boosts Stake in Discovery With $75 Million Stock Purchase

    John Malone has upped his stake in Discovery Inc. by purchasing $75 million worth of stock on the open market. Malone picked up just under 2.7 million shares in Discovery at $28.03 on Nov. 14, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Malone was already the company’s single-largest individual shareholder who holds super-voting shares [...]

  • the firt Motley Crue books Nikki

    Motley Crue to Tour in 2020?

    Even though Motley Crue signed a legal document confirming that their lucrative 2014-15 “Final Tour” would be their last, the group is plotting a trek in 2020, sources tell Variety. Rolling Stone reported today that Def Leppard and Poison will be joining the group for the tour, which it says will include stadiums; reps for [...]

  • Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior

    Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior VP of A&R

    Republic Records has named Mel Carter as senior vice president of A&R, executive VP Rob Stevenson announced today. In his new role, Carter will scout, sign, and foster new talent for the Republic roster. Additionally, he will continue to oversee the current roster on his imprint, Hikari Ultra, under its joint venture with Republic. In 2018, Carter began consulting for the company and eventually [...]

  • T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere

    John Legere to Step Down as T-Mobile CEO

    John Legere, after more than seven years at the helm of T-Mobile and leading the takeover of rival carrier Sprint, will resign as CEO next spring. Legere will be replaced by Mike Sievert as CEO, effective May 1, 2020. Sievert is currently president and COO of T-Mobile, and his new title will be president and [...]

  • Legendary Celebrity Photographer, Terry O'Neill, in

    Terry O'Neill, Celebrity Photographer of '60s and '70s, Dies at 81

    Terry O’Neill, the British photographer known for his famous shots of celebrities in the ’60s and ’70s and his marriage to Faye Dunaway, has died after a bout with cancer. He was 81. O’Neill’s agency told the BBC that he had prostate cancer and died at home on Saturday night after a long illness. O’Neill [...]

  • Hollywood celebrated the individuals redefining "on-screen

    Media Access Awards Honors Individuals Increasing Representation for Disabilities

    Hollywood celebrated individuals redefining “on-screen representation for the disability community” with the Media Access Awards, in partnership with Easterseals, at the Beverly Hilton Thursday. Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the event, which featured Camryn Manheim, CJ Jones, Coby Bird and “The Peanut Butter Falcon” actors Zack Gottsagen and John Hawkes presenting awards along [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content