Big names in the film, technology, design and sports industries made their appearances at Sun Valley rural Idaho Tuesday for the start of the annual ‘billionaire summer camp’ for tech and media moguls.
The gathering, thrown by investment bank Allen & Company brings together A-listers from the various industries each year, although the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, the five-day conference, held at the edge of Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest in a tiny town of just 1,500, is set to feature strict checks to ensure it does not become a superspreader event.
Some of this year’s sessions will be held outside in an attempt to minimize risk.
Among the major figures that have appeared so far include businessman and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Netflix Co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, CBS News’ Gayle King, Nike CEO John Donahoe, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Shari Redstone, chairwoman of ViacomCBS and Stacey Bendet, CEO of fashion company Alice + Olivia.
Stacey Bendet, CEO of fashion company Alice + Olivia and billionaire businessman and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft arrived on Tuesday at this year’s ‘billionaire summer camp’ at Sun Valley, where some of the biggest names in tech, design, film and sports gather each year for the five-day conference
CBS News’ Gayle King also made her appearance
Disney board Chairman Bob Iger also appeared for day one of the conference
ViacomCBS Chairwoman Shari Redstone and Nike CEO John Donahoe made their appearances Tuesday at the business networking event
Netflix Co-CEOs Reed Reed Hastings (left) and Ted Sarandos rolled up at Sun Valley
All attendees needed to undergo Covid screenings to ensure it does not become a super spreader event. Last year’s Sun Valley conference was cancelled due to the pandemic
Other influential names on the guest list are Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and his successor Andy Jassy, as well as Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, according to Infowars.
The site also reported that WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is among the invitees from the world of media, along with Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper and Van Jones and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
Former US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass are among the public officials on the invite list, Infowars reported.
Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick (left) and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon were also in attendance
Former CIA Director David Patraeus (left) and former White House Office of national Drug Control Policy advisor Kevin Sabet arrived Tuesday
CEO of Centene Corporation Michael Neidorff arrived at Sun Valley, which is thrown by investment bank Allen & Company
Evan Greenberg CEO of Chubb Limited (left) and Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund
Alex Sacerdote of Whale Rock Capital Management (left) and former chairman and president of Duquesne Capital Stan Druckenmiller appeared at the five-day invite only conference
Mike Berman of the Duberstein Group (left) and Chris McKown, executive chairman of Iora Health
The annual invite-only conference is thrown by investment bank Allen & Company
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet will be there. So too will Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is expected to attend this year’s event at Sun Valley Lodge. He is pictured at the event in 2014
Bezo’s successor and current CEO of Amazon Web Services Andy Jassy, pictured, is also expected to attend
John Nallen, chief financial officer and senior executive vice president of Twenty-First Century Fox will be there. He is pictured at the conference in 2017
Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of US cable giant Comcast, left, and Reed Hastings, Chief Executive Officer of Netflix are expected to be there
Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, is also among this years’ invitees together with former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley
Those attending investment bank Allen & Co.’s annual conference will need to have been vaccinated and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
Over the holiday weekend, private jets belonging to business leaders began arriving at the local airport and taking up space on the tarmac at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey as they parked up for the week.
From there, guests were chauffeured through 15 miles of lush rolling hills to the lodge where the conference takes place.
Rival chief executives including Discovery’s David Zaslav, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos along with his successor Andy Jassy, Comcast Corp.’s Brian Roberts are all said to be on the guest list.
A sign is seen at the entrance to the Sun Valley Resort ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference
Workers continue to setup at the Sun Valley Resort ahead of the private Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference
The Sun Valley Lodge stands in Sun Valley, Idaho. The annual Allen & Co. conference gathers many of America’s wealthiest and most powerful people in media, technology, and sports
Technicians setup inside the Sun Valley Pavilion ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet will be there, so too will Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley are also expected to attend.
Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, is also among the invitees, as is Fox Corp. Chief Operating Officer John Nallen.
They will have a lot to discuss given the massive shift to streaming during the pandemic and consumers moving to Netflix and Disney+ over the last 16 months and cutting the cord from traditional pay-TV subscriptions.
In May, AT&T said it was spinning off WarnerMedia which is made up from HBO, the Warner Bros. film and TV studio along with the cable networks of TNT and TBS into a new venture being formed with Discovery.
Attendees in 2019 included Ron Meyer (left), then-Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, and David M. Zaslav (right), CEO of Discovery
PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman (left) and McDonald’s chief Steve Easterbrook (right) both attended in 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company’s senior vice president of internet software Eddy Cue are seen at the event in 2018
The following week Amazon announced its intention to acquire MGM studios.
Such consolidation within the media industry has reduced the number of potential targets available, but fresh deals are not off the table.
The real action for many onlookers will happen in corridors, restaurants and golf courses rather than conference rooms.
‘It would be wise for these companies to collaborate and rethink the ecosystem, and figure out their future,’ said analyst Neil Begley to the Wall Street Journal. ‘There are still a few players out there that can be easily absorbed.’
Analysts believe the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger could be the first of many deals which are made as the traditional media companies look to compete better in streaming by bulking up on content.
Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch (right), who is the CEO of Fox Corporation and co-chairman of News Corp., and his wife Sarah Murdoch (left), went to the event in 2019
Former Disney head, Michael Eisner at the conference in 2019
Previous deals that have their roots at Sun Valley include the 1995 purchase of Capital Cities/ABC by Disney, Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2009, the purchase of AOL by Verizon in 2015, and Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post in 2013.
Attendees at the last conference 2019 included Facebook bosses Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg; Disney’s Bob Iger; 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki; Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, who is the CEO of Fox Corporation; PayPal CEO Dan Schulman; Instagram COO Marne Levine; McDonald’s chief Steve Easterbrook and billionaire media executive Shari Redstone.
The conference began in 1982, and in its early days founder Herbert Allen – who co-founded Allen & Company with brother Charles – had to beg invitees to come.
The Sun Valley Resort is seen ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference After a year hiatus due to the CVOID-19 pandemic the world’s most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, and technology will converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive week-long conference
A sign is seen on the Sun Valley Inn ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference