(Bloomberg) -- A so-called summer camp for billionaires kicks off this week, with some of the world’s top business tycoons heading to Idaho for Allen & Co.’s annual conference.
Bill Gates, Bob Iger, Mark Zuckerberg and other titans of finance, technology and media are expected to attend this year’s Sun Valley Conference, the invite-only confab where deals are famously hashed out behind closed doors.
After unprecedented private jet traffic in 2021 following a pandemic-induced hiatus for the conference, runway demand has normalized, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Friedman Memorial Airport is expecting traffic similar to 2019 levels, the person said.
Covid-19 protocols are even stiffer than they were last year. There will be on-site testing for guests, who will be required to have a booster shot on top of their vaccination, another person said.
Here’s a few things to look for:
Elon Musk took a week-and-a-half break last month on Twitter Inc., as he scrambles to potentially renegotiate his takeover of the social media platform while grappling with Tesla Inc.’s sliding market value. Will he find time with Twitter Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal -- another expected attendee -- to hash out his gripes about fake accounts and other matters?
Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek -- who just won a three-year contract extension -- is heading to Idaho after steering the entertainment juggernaut through one of its most difficult periods ever, from a culture-war spat with Florida’s governor to growing pains as it shifts its focus to streaming. Will the turmoil detract from Disney’s cache as one of the most powerful players in attendance?
There has also been gossip about tension Chapek may have with former Disney CEO Iger, potentially setting up a made-for-the-camera encounter.
The big picture for media and tech has shifted dramatically since last year’s event. Technology stocks have lost their swagger -- particularly Netflix Inc., given it has reported a decline in subscribers -- raising questions about the health and growth prospects of the streaming market.
Recession fears, rising interest rates, the crypto crash and scores of other business and economic worries will also be top of mind.
That said, deals in the technology, media and telecommunications space are still a bright spot in a slowing M&A environment. Since last year’s Sun Valley, Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc., the broadcaster Tegna Inc. announced it would go private and Broadcom Inc. said it would buy VMware Inc. in one of the largest chipmaker deals ever.
Sports dealmaking remains a big theme too, with the sales of the Denver Broncos and Chelsea Football Club each topping well over $4 billion.
Host firm Allen has advised on more than $129 billion in deals so far this year, including the Broncos, Twitter and Activision Blizzard transactions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Bankers at Allen and its peers are no doubt hoping more deals will be spawned at Sun Valley.
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