I'm here in Sun Valley, Idaho, where all the movers and shakers in the media business are gathering for the Allen & Co. media conference to schmooze and make deals. This is where seriously big business alliances are born--from Google's acquisition of YouTube way back to Disney and Cap Cities/ABC . The secretive investment bank, which specializes in media deals started the conference 25 years ago. And since then, it's evolved from focusing on the Hollywood glitterati to Silicon Valley's hottest tech companies.
YouTube was the big star last year. Now in 2007, the spotlight has shifted to the next generation. Facebook's wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg is expected to make a showing -- I've heard lots of speculation that Google will snap Facebook up (though Yahoo would like it). And Allen & Co. has invited the CEOs of some other potential acquisition targets--Joost, the digital content site; Ning, a tech company that enables the building of online social networks founded by Mark Andreseen; and Slingbox is back and piquing interest.
I just spoke to Discovery Communications David Zaslav, who said he's talking with a number of the companies here. It sounds like he could be interested in picking up a company or two.
And Lachlan Murdoch just pulled up with his model wife. I asked him if his presence here is an indication he'll be going back to News Corp. He said it doesn't, and that he's just here because its interesting.
Bob Iger stopped to chat--he mentioned how pleased he was with "Ratatouille's" rave reviews and strong box office performance. When I asked him if Disney is in the market for any of the private tech companies here, he said Disney tends to grow more from within.
We caught some other big arrivals--Warren Buffett, Henry Kravis, Ron Meyer, Meg Whitman, Mel Karmizan, Phillipe Dauman, Bill Bradley, Jerry Yang and even Terry Semel (despite the fact that his replacement at Yahoo, Sue Decker, is also expected to show up).
It's quite the roundup of power players. The big rule we journalists have here, is strictly no photographing the kids, who are here as well. Allen & Co. provides each family with a babysitter, so that parents can attend the sessions, and they also ensure that the kids stay out of the spotlight.
I'll be reporting live from Sun Valley all Wednesday-starting early--so tune in, and check back here for updates!
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