TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

SHARING AMERICA'S TECH NEWS FROM THE VALLEY TO THE ALLEY

The Sun Valley Conference Rolls Around, With Deals in the Air

dbpix-murdoch-tmagArticle[1] Rupert Murdoch

By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED, courtesy DealBook

SUN VALLEY, Idaho – “Well, folks, we talked to dispatch, and we have to go to Boise,” said the pilot of the Alaska Airlines flight on Tuesday afternoon.

The reason? About 12 planes were ahead in the queue for the tiny airport in Sun Valley, Idaho. About eight of them were private jets.

“There’s apparently a business conference,” the pilot said.

It was a sign that Allen & Company’s annual media and technology conference here was kicking into high gear.

For about three decades, many of the biggest movers in the media and technology worlds have gathered here to schmooze, to hear from special guest speakers and, on occasion, to put together potentially big transactions.

Long regarded as the birthplace of prominent mergers, the conference will play host to a number of industry giants who have made moves toward deals. Among them are Rupert Murdoch of the News Corporation, who recently cleaved his media empire in two and may be on the hunt for newspaper acquisitions; John C. Malone, the Liberty Media chairman and onetime cable tycoon who is weighing a potential takeover pursuit of Time Warner Cable (whose chief executive, Glenn A. Britt, is also on the guest list); and Michael White of DirecTV and Peter Chernin of Chernin Entertainment, who are both said to have bid for the online video service Hulu.

By Tuesday evening, many had arrived, attending a dinner hosted by Allen & Company’s Herb Allen. Spotted so far:

•Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, shaking hands and chatting with Eric Schmidt and Nikesh Arora of Google

•Brian Chesky of Airbnb, the home-sharing giant, and Ben Silbermann of Pinterest, the fast-growing social network

•Dick Costolo, the chief executive of Twitter, and his wife, Lorin

•Marc Pincus of Zynga, not long after he gave up the chief executive role at the game company

•John Donohoe of eBay, getting a bourbon at the Sun Valley Inn

•James Murdoch, walking back to the inn

•Max Levchin, the serial entrepreneur and a Yahoo director, and his wife, Nellie

•Sebastian Thrun, the founder of the Google X Lab and now chief executive of Udacity, an online education provider

•Harvey Weinstein

•Wesley R. Edens of Fortress Investment

•Daniel L. Doctoroff of Bloomberg L.P.

•Brian C. Rogers of T. Rowe Price

DealBook is on hand at the conference to gather tips, gossip and possibly be tossed into the duck pond by an irate mogul. I’ll be posting both here and to my Twitter feed. Stay tuned.

Thank you, TiA

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