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Sun Valley 2011: Which Hollywood Moguls Are Headed to Herb Allen's Summer Retreat

Rupert Murdoch
Ben Gurr - WPA Pool/ Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch

Investment bank Allen & Co.'s annual post-July 4 "summer camp for moguls" will bring out the Murdoch/News Corp. family and many others with hot topics expected to include the future of Hulu and tech IPOs.

NEW YORK - Bill Cosby performed last week at the Sun Valley Pavilion in the Idaho mountain resort. But after July 4th, a different Hollywood crowd will take over as boutique investment bank Allen & Co. will once again bring together media, entertainment and tech moguls hoping to become the belle of the Sun Valley ball.

Herb Allen's 29th edition of the annual retreat, known as "summer camp for moguls," will also be a family outing of sorts for the Murdoch family. News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and right-hand man Chase Casey, president, COO and deputy chairman, are expected to make their way out to Idaho, as are James Murdoch - in his first Allen & Co. appearance since his promotion to the role of deputy COO at the conglomerate earlier this year - and daughter Elisabeth Murdoch, who recently sold her production company Shine Group to News Corp. According to a source, she was at the Allen & Co. retreat as a guest about a decade ago, but will make her first trip to the mogul gathering as a delegate next week.

It wasn’t immediately clear if eldest Murdoch son Lachlan, who runs an investment group and still sits on the board of News Corp. even though he gave up all day-to-day executive functions years ago, will also return to Sun Valley, where he was seen interacting with his father last year.
 
Other News Corp. representatives scheduled for the gathering are Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos, former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who earlier this year joined the conglomerate as executive vp to develop an education business, and chief digital officer Jon Miller. Miller has been dealing with the planned sale of MySpace and the future of online video joint venture Hulu, in which News Corp. is a partner along with Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.
 
Several hundred media and tech execs, financial types, agents and at times sports or political VIPs trek to what is a relatively out-of-the-way Sun Valley locale—in many cases bringing significant others or family in tow. Whether via private jets or other mode of transportation, attendees typically start coming in around July 4th as the moguls boost the population of Sun Valley and next-door Ketchum quite a bit. After a July 5 welcome event, the action will kick into high gear on July 6.

Among the industry names that The Hollywood Reporter has either confirmed or is expecting to attend are:
 
Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman, Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes and CFO John Martin, Sony Corp. chairman and CEO Howard Stringer (who missed last year’s outing), Sony Corp. of America CFO Rob Wiesenthal and Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, Liberty Media chairman John Malone and CEO Greg Maffei, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Univision Communications chairman Haim Saban, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav and founder John Hendricks, DirecTV chairman and CEO Mike White, Warner Music chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. (who wasn’t at last year’s gathering and whose company is expected to be acquired by Len Blavatnik shortly), AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, former News Corp. second-in-command Peter Chernin, former Viacom boss Tom Freston, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and co-founder and chief Yahoo Jerry Yang, IAC chairman Barry Diller and social gaming firm Zynga's CEO Mark Pincus and chief business officer Owen Van Natta, a former CEO of MySpace.

Not expected in Sun Valley are CBS and Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, who wasn't at last year's gathering either, and Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, who showed up last year with Burke and Angelakis.

Google is typically represented by chairman Eric Schmidt, CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin. Facebook, which last year had CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg in attendance, is expected to send top executives, as is Twitter. Insiders also expect Netflix to be represented but a company spokesman declined to comment.
 
Allen & Co. never releases a guest list or agenda to the media.
 
Among hot and new tech companies that will mingle in Sun Valley are online phone firm Skype, which Microsoft has agreed to acquire, and question-and-answer site Quora, according to the New York Post.
 
“There will be a lot of talk about new emerging Web companies and recent Internet IPOs that had high valuations,” predicts one person who is set to attend but did not want to be identified. “And Hulu’s future will be a hot topic now that the [online video streaming] company’s owners have hired bankers.”
 
It is not clear if Hulu CEO Jason Kilar got an invite, but Hulu owners Walt Disney, News Corp. and NBCUniversal/Comcast will be represented, along with all sorts of possible buyers. In fact, at least four Hulu board members—Iger, Carey, Miller and Gianopulos—are expected to be in Sun Valley, along with Burke, whose NBCUniversal had to give up its Hulu board seats and become a passive shareholder when Comcast acquired a majority in NBCUni.

The balance of power in Sun Valley has shifted in recent years from Hollywood to Silicon Valley as representatives of hot tech players - from Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Zynga’s Pincus, Twitter and the Google crew - have become the most sought-after people for attendees and media alike.
 
“We are very pleased to have the Allen group visiting us,” says Sun Valley mayor Wayne Willich. “Having a venue that is attractive to them so they can conduct their meetings with minimum interference is an important aspect of what Sun Valley has to offer. I am sure they will enjoy their visit as much this year as they have in the past.”

Mimi Turner in London and Paul Bond in LA contributed to this report.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai