Sun Valley summer camp

Media moguls gather for annual confab

Major media executives packed their bathing suits, BlackBerrys and iPods this weekend and headed for their version of summer camp — the annual gathering put together by financier Herb Allen in this exclusive resort.

For five days beginning Tuesday, several hundred media mavens of all stripes will sit through confabs and participate in informal business discussions on topics as far-ranging as Iraq, the economy and the Googling of everything.

Although they wouldn't put it this way, they also get to look and feel important — and watch such veterans as Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone in shorts, sipping cool drinks.

Last year, the trendy topic was "Content Is King"; this year, Allen & Co. are predictably tight-lipped about conference subjects and even guest attendees.

Spokesperson Eileen Vegg said the media are allowed informal access to the moguls but are not allowed to attend any presentation, lecture or meal.

Among those likely to make the trek, besides Murdoch (with son Laclan) and Redstone, are Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, eBay's Meg Whitman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts co-founder Henry Kravis, Sirius' Mel Karmazin, Viacom's Philippe Dauman, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Sony's Howard Stringer, former top dog at Time Warner Richard Parsons, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Warner Music's Edgar Bronfman Jr., Universal's Ron Meyer, Disney's Robert Iger and Paramount's Brad Grey.

New media will be repped by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Ning founder and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen, Discovery's David Zaslav, Sling Media's Blake Krikorian and Google's Sergei Brin and Eric Schmidt.

Such agents as CAA's Richard Lovett, UTA's Jim Berkus, ICM's Jeff Berg and WMA's Jim Wiatt also generally jet in.

Bill Gates, normally an attendee, might be a no-show this year. He stepped down as CEO of Microsoft last week to turn his attention to his foundation. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is not expected to attend because of a previous engagement, Reuters reported.

DreamWorks co-founder Jeff Katzenberg, and possibly Steven Spielberg or David Geffen, also might appear, with the latter two likely there to talk up DreamWorks' anticipated big deal with India's Reliance conglomerate. It's possible that Reliance topper Anil Ambani, whose company is involved in everything from energy to entertainment, might make the trip for the first time.

Several attendees said they are excited about the idea that one or both of the presidential candidates would arrived on the Sun Valley airport tarmac. John McCain and Barack Obama might want to curry favor with a presumably relaxed group of high-profile billionaires. Former British prime minister Tony Blair showed up last year. (partialdiff)
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