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Summer in Sun Valley: Moguls Convene at Herb Allen's, Murdoch Ducks

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 8, 2011 at 12:32PM

It's been hard for NewsCorp. chairman Rupert Murdoch to relax this week at investment banker Herb Allen's 29th annual Sun Valley mogul retreat, which launched July 5 and lasts for five days. Murdoch is under too much fire with the News of the World bugging scandal threatening to derail his long-planned BSkyB takeover bid--even after he opted to kill the tabloid.
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Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

It's been hard for NewsCorp. chairman Rupert Murdoch to relax this week at investment banker Herb Allen's 29th annual Sun Valley mogul retreat, which launched July 5 and lasts for five days. Murdoch is under too much fire with the News of the World bugging scandal threatening to derail his long-planned BSkyB takeover bid--even after he opted to kill the tabloid.

Children Elizabeth and James Murdoch were supposed to attend the confab, along with Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos and chief digital officer Jon Miller (who finally unloaded albatross MySpace for $35 million last month), but it was Lachlan who showed, reports The Wrap.

Deals are always hatching in Sun Valley, where the world's media titans can confab about sales of Hulu and AMC Networks in relative peace and quiet, with wives and family in tow. Also under stress is DreamWorks Animation's Jeff Katzenberg, who is seeking a better deal for his company as Paramount starts up its own animation division. His old cohort Barry Diller of IAC, who is watching over Tina Brown's NewsBeast venture, is another loyal attendee.

Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

But this year, reports THR, Comcast's Brian Roberts and Viacom's 88-year-old chairman Sumner Redstone were no-shows. Instead, NBC/Universal's Steve Burke, Universal's Ron Meyer and CBS's Leslie Moonves were there, along with Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, and Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger.

As tech IPOs are increasing, the talk of the conference was Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who just made a key deal with Skype (to be acquired by Microsoft) and faces a challenge from Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin as the new Google + expands, exponentially. Also in Sun Valley were Netflix’s content chief Ted Sarandos, Andrew Mason of Groupon, Dick Costolo of Twitter, Mark Pincus of Zynga, LACMA board member Terry Semel, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and co-founder and chief Jerry Yang.


This article is related to: Hollywood, Moguls, Studios, Players, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Universal/Focus Features, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.