Two huge deals are expected to come out Comcast’s $45-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and AT&T’s $48.5 billion takeover of DirecTV.
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The world’s most influential media and hi-tech moguls have assembled in Sun Valley, Idaho, this week, arriving in an “armada of private planes and fleets of black SUVs, ” as Variety put it, for the annual meeting hosted by the privately held, boutique, NY-based investment bank of Allen & Co. The conference is has taken place in Idaho for one week each July since 1983, typically featuring business and political leaders, alongside showbiz and arts personalities.
Swarms of reporters are everywhere in Sun Valley this week, hoping to scoop the planet’s biggest and most important media deals as they’re being forged. Sun Valley has seen many of those, including the stunning AOL-Time Warner merger, back in 1999, and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos‘s buy of the Washington Post only a year ago.
Media reports have been mostly about how Journalists are being kept away by security personnel, fighting for a glimpse and a maybe even a quip from one of the big names hanging around the resort. This year, security folks are expecting video-shooting drones, which “could photograph, harass or harm attendees, ” as Bloomberg reported.
Deals that are expected to be sprouting from this week’s get-together include Comcast’s $45-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and AT&T’s $48.5 billion takeover of DirecTV, the satellite company.
According to Quartz, there’s speculation that Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is looking to buy Time Warner. Maybe. Probably not. But, no doubt, the spotlight this year will be on telecommunications companies, which are becoming players in media, since more and more Americans prefer to watch their streaming video on their cellphones, iPads and computer screens.
Verizon’s Lowell McAdam and AT&T’s Randall Stephenson are on hand in Idaho for the first time as CEOs of their companies, according to The Wall Street Journal.
WSJ quotes investment bankers and investors who say that the phone companies may be big wireless broadband players, content is still king, and they don’t own content. Comcast, which acquired NBCUniversal in 2011, owns oodles of content.
Media and telecom consultant Jimmy Schaeffler told WSJ that Verizon “needs something else right now, ” which is why they’re salivating over Time Warner.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet has arrived at the resort, as has Netflix’s Reed Hastings, and, of course, Rupert Murdoch.
Former Walt Disney Co. chief Michael Eisner is there.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg was spotted in the courtyard of the Sun Valley lodge alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg,
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav told reporters Tuesday that he expects more consolidation in the cable industry. Less choice – more money?
Another fun quote from Variety: fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, arriving with her husband Barry Diller, was asked how she was doing and quipped: “Older.”
See? Some celebrities do tire out after a while.
Here’s the list of some bigs we may have neglected to mention so far:
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and Paramount Pictures head Brad Grey, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger, CFO Jay Rasulo and chairman of the parks and resorts division, Thomas Staggs.