Deals, dynasties, and drones: The Sun Valley media conference has begun

Not your average parking lot.
Not your average parking lot.
Image: Reuters/Rick Wilking
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The world’s biggest media moguls, and many of the best-known names in tech, have descended upon Sun Valley, Idaho, this week for the annual (and now legendary) get-together hosted by the low-profile New York investment house, Allen & Co.

A gaggle of reporters are there too, aware that some of the biggest and most important deals the media world has ever seen were thrashed out at the sleepy mountain resort—from the biggest ever corporate transaction, AOL and Time Warner merging in 1999, to last year’s purchase of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos.

The gathering offers hard-boiled corporate reporters a chance to act like the paparazzi: Journalists are cordoned off, craning to catch a glimpse of (or a quote from) the big names. But previous years’ attendees complain that the press have few opportunities to access to the billionaires, with off-the-record drinks events apparently a thing of the past. This year, security personnel are also on the lookout for drones, worried that unmanned aerial vehicles “could photograph, harass or harm attendees,” Bloomberg reports, citing “two people familiar with the plans.”

Major players in some of the biggest deals in media and communications currently underway (including Comcast’s pending $45-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and AT&T’s $48.5 billion acquisition of satellite company DirecTV) are expected to make an appearance. And already, wild speculation is underway about another deal: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox buying Time Warner. (Some prominent industry observers have dismissed the rumor, which appears to be based on an analyst report released last month, as far-fetched.)

Speculation aside, here is what we do know:

Warren Buffet is in the house.

So is Netflix’s Reed Hastings.

And the Murdoch family was spotted en route to breakfast this morning

But no drone sightings, so far.