SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The first full day of conference sessions at Allen & Co.’s annual retreat included an informational session on cryptocurrencies, blockchain and other little-understood developments in the world of virtual money.
Court CBS Corp. chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves among those who got an education from the presentation. “I understand it a little better now,” Moonves said.
The morning sessions also included a panel with IAC chief Barry Diller, Bloomberg News founder Michael Bloomberg, and Activision Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick talking about how they build their businesses. Sources said there was a little friendly sparring among the trio about various business strategies that are en vogue these days, including the push for “scale” in all things.
Another highlight was a presentation from Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. The leader of one of South America’s most prosperous nation made a strong case for investment in Latin America and stressed that the region has untapped potential.
But the talk of the conference remains the swirl of media M&A that picked up more heat on Wednesday as 21st Century Fox and Comcast unleashed competing bids for European satellite provider Sky. While the battle rages for the London-based firm, the leaders of the companies behind the corporate jousting — 21st Century Fox’s Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, Comcast’s Brian Roberts, and Disney’s Bob Iger (which is looking to close its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox and its 39% stake in Sky) — were making the rounds with other movers and shakers at the Sun Valley Lodge.
The Disney-Comcast fight over Fox is the most high-profile Hollywood bidding war since Diller and Sumner Redstone scrapped over Paramount Pictures more than 25 years ago. Asked if he had any advice for the combatants, he offered: “Stay strong,” and added that he has “no clue” how it will all end up.
The first full day of the week-long event gave attendees the chance to relax and enjoy some of the recreational pursuits offered as part of the conference. Among the intriguing and entertaining sightings on Wednesday at the resort complex packed with boldface names:
** Apple CEO Tim Cook and content guru Eddy Cue waiting in line for coffees at the resort’s coffee shop. Cook paid by scanning his Apple Watch.
** Rupert Murdoch smiling through a barrage of questions from reporters as he walked into the morning session with his wife, Jerry Hall, and son, 21st Century Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch. “He’s the boss,” Rupert said, gesturing to Lachlan, who laughed.
** “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Gayle King racing to change out of heels and into sneakers for what she later described as a “serious hike.”
** Tornante chief Michael Eisner and others racing off to catch the England vs. Croatia World Cup game. Eisner was rooting for England.
** Moonves and producer Brian Grazer chatting about old bosses and how they learned to play golf as a business necessity.
** Chan Zuckerberg Initiative co-founder Priscilla Chan talking with CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz and Tamara Mellon, co-founder of the Jimmy Choo shoe line, at a reception for Mellon’s pop-up shoe and accessories store.
** Netflix’s Ted Sarandos combing through the items at Mellon’s pop-up store.
** Bloomberg cutting quite a colorful figure in a pink button-down shirt and deep purple jeans.
(Pictured: Michael Bloomberg)