Viacom CEO Bob Bakish to Make First Trip to Sun Valley Moguls Gathering
Top executives from Fox, CBS and Amazon are headed to Idaho for the Allen & Co. event as well, while Disney's Bob Iger is not expected to attend.
A who's who of media, entertainment and technology moguls is set to mingle in Sun Valley, Idaho, after Independence Day at the annual Allen & Co. summit, which this time should feature a few new attendees.
Around 300 industry power players get invitations to what has been called "summer camp for moguls," which offers VIP guest speakers, panel discussions and barbecues along with opportunities for biking, rafting and those famous one-on-one chats that often have lead to mergers or acquisitions.
The Sun Valley guest list is never made public, but sources say that among the expected attendees this year are heavy hitters such as 21st Century Fox's Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch and CFO John Nallen; Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes and new Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who will attend the Sun Valley event for the first time.
Also, CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves and COO Joe Ianniello will attend, as will Viacom and CBS Corp. vice chair Shari Redstone, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, IAC chairman Barry Diller and CEO Joey Levin.
AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson has gone in the past and is again invited this year, though sources have yet to confirm if he'll attend. If he's there, he's likely to command some attention, as AT&T's pending $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner will make him one of the world's premier media moguls should regulators allow the merger to close.
Another deal pending and likely to be discussed in Sun Valley is 21st Century Fox's bid for full ownership of Sky, on which U.K. regulators are expected to submit reports to the government later this month.
Disney CEO Bob Iger will reportedly not attend this year, but CFO Christine McCarthy and chief strategy officer Kevin Mayer will, as will Disney Media Networks co-chairman Ben Sherwood.
Bloomberg is reporting that Tom Staggs will attend. The former Disney COO is considered a COO candidate for Uber, which will be without the services of CEO Travis Kalanick, who said Tuesday he will take a leave of absence from the company.
Kalanick made a splash at the Sun Valley event a few years ago by demonstrating Uber, though he will not be there this year as he is dealing with the loss of his mother in a boating accident over Memorial Weekend and his company is dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct.
Also reportedly attending this year are billionaires Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Amazon's Jeff Bezos. Oprah Winfrey, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos and tech and auto billionaire Elon Musk were invited, but there's no word yet on which, if any, will attend.
The Sun Valley mogul-fest was launched after investment bank Allen & Co. sold its controlling stake in Columbia Pictures to Coca-Cola in 1982 and ever since it has been a place famous as a starting point for mega-deals, including the AOL-Time Warner combination, Disney’s purchase of Capital Cities/ABC, Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal and Google's takeover of YouTube.
Political and geopolitical topics have often been part of the gathering. Last year, for example, it featured a talk about free trade in a post-Brexit world, and this year the election of President Donald Trump will surely get some attention.
Etan Vlessing contributed to this report.