There's no talk of concrete deals at the Allen & Co. conference this year, but the big names continue to circulate and talk intently over meals and cocktails. The spotlight is on the Yahoo crew, everyone wondering who they're talking to, and what that could mean about the fate of the company.
Sue Decker, Yahoo'sPresident, arrived Wednesday night, gathering in the bar at the Sun Valley Lodge with former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel and one of Yahoo's biggest shareholders (through the funds he manages) Legg Mason's Bill Miller. They sat and talked for hours with Google co-founder Larry Page. Thursday, Google's co-founders and their wives talked with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang for 20 minutes. And Google CEO Eric Schmidt walked into the Lodge a few minutes ago saying, "I'm looking for Jerry." Minutes later, Yang appears and they sit down for an intimate chat.
I've been impressed how former executives (fired execs) are eagerly schmoozing with their former colleagues. In addition to Decker and Semel's friendship, I've seen former Viacom CEO Tom Freston spend quite a bit of time with Paramount Pictures' Brad Grey. Corporate families stick together: Philippe Dauman, Viacom CEO, Grey, and Jeffrey Katzenberg (his DreamWorks Animationdistributes through Paramount) lunched together.
And it seems the guys who don't have the lofty CEO titles they once did are quite popular. Semel spent a lot of time talking to Sony's CEO Sir Howard stringer and CFO Rob Wiesenthal. And Freston seems to be talking to everyone--last night spending some time with the CEO of cable company Scripps Communications.
And not that anything can be made of the seating arrangements, but I think it's interesting that Yahoo's Sue Decker has spent quite a bit of time talking to John Donahoe, eBay's CEO.
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