Billionaires in Sun Valley for Allen & Co conference

Billionaires in Sun Valley for Allen & Co conference

The worlds of film, technology, design and sports have come together this week in Idaho, where the Allen & Co conference has kicked off in Sun Valley.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, National Amusements president Shari Redstone, Weinsten Company head Harvey Weinstein, semi-retired fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and the five-time, Super-Bowl winning owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft were all spotted wheeling and dealing at the annual conference on Wednesday. 

Almost all of those who were seen in Sun Valley on Thursday attended last year's conference.

Two new attendees who have yet to arrive are Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who headed west early Wednesday morning from their new home in Washington DC.

The couple are reportedly paying their own way to attend the conference as well, and not using any taxpayer money for their flights to and from Idaho or their lodging. 

Big gulp: Martin Lau, president of Tencent Holdings, walks with Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, during the second day of the annual Allen & Company conference
Big gulp: Martin Lau, president of Tencent Holdings, walks with Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, during the second day of the annual Allen & Company conference

Big gulp: Martin Lau, president of Tencent Holdings, walks with Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, during the second day of the annual Allen & Company conference

Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg

The odd couple: Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and semi-retired fashion designer and wrap-dress creator Diane von Furstenberg (right) are once again at the conference  

No laughing matter: Barry Diller was also in attendance, and kicked things off by taking aim at President Trump and calling him a 'joke'
No laughing matter: Barry Diller was also in attendance, and kicked things off by taking aim at President Trump and calling him a 'joke'

No laughing matter: Barry Diller was also in attendance, and kicked things off by taking aim at President Trump and calling him a 'joke'

On her way: Ivanka is heading out west to the annual conference for the first time (above leaving her house with daughter Arabella following her to the door on Wednesday) 
On her way: Ivanka is heading out west to the annual conference for the first time (above leaving her house with daughter Arabella following her to the door on Wednesday) 

On her way: Ivanka is heading out west to the annual conference for the first time (above leaving her house with daughter Arabella following her to the door on Wednesday) 

 Barry Diller was also in attendance, and kicked things off by taking aim at President Trump.

'He hasn't done anything, really. I think it's just a joke. Hopefully it will be over relatively soon,' The chairman if IAC said in an interview with CNBC from The Gem State. 

'It inexplicably began and it will inexplicably end.'

Diller said that he would not air his grievances and complaints however with Ivanka and Jared upon their arrival at the event.

'I can't blame them for the current situation,' explained Diller. 

'What would be the point of bringing it up to someone who has no curiosity, doesn't listen, etc.? Why would anybody bother?'

He also spoke about his problems with president Trump's immigration ban, saying that it is ultiamtely going to hurt the country.

'We're going to lose talent, rather than importing talent that we always need,' argued Diller. 

'The immigration policies are reprehensible.'

He did however voice his support of some tax reform measures, including the planned reductions on how much if withheld from foreign earnings.

Elegiac hillbilly: Venture capitalist and author JD Vance attends the second day of Allen & Co on Wednesday 
Elegiac hillbilly: Venture capitalist and author JD Vance attends the second day of Allen & Co on Wednesday 

Elegiac hillbilly: Venture capitalist and author JD Vance attends the second day of Allen & Co on Wednesday 

Shari Redstone
Shari Redstone
Ronald Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal
Ronald Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal

Battle of the network vice chairs: Sumner Redstone's daughter and CBS Vice Chairwoman Shari Redstone (left); Ronald Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal (right)

Lachlan what he sees: Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots football team, and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of 21st Century Fox
Lachlan what he sees: Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots football team, and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of 21st Century Fox

Lachlan what he sees: Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots football team, and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of 21st Century Fox

There were a few notable names absent from the gathering of the rich and famous on Thursday. 

Self-made billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey both have yet to be seen at the event, while Rupert Murdoch is also a no-show thus far for the second straight year. 

Murdoch and his model wife Jerry Hall missed last year's event in the wake of Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment suit against Fox News and Roger Ailes.

His son Lachlan was in attendance however, and could be seen chatting with Kraft on Wednesday.  

Marissa Mayer, who did not make the cut last year, was also once again left off the list of invitees as the recently ousted Yahoo head is busy plotting her next move. 

Recently ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is also not in Sun Valley, though it is not known if that was his choice or if the organizers left the embattled executive off the list.

Disney head Bob Iger will also not attend the conference, but the company will be represented by a number of his lieutenants, including the head of the TV division Ben Sherwood and CFO Christine McCarthy. 

Works like a dream: Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation, arrives on Tuesday (above)
Works like a dream: Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation, arrives on Tuesday (above)

Works like a dream: Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation, arrives on Tuesday (above)

The mane event: Style star Stacey Bendet, the CEO of Alice + Olivia and wife of Eric Eisner, is back in Idaho once again this year (above on Wednesday)
The mane event: Style star Stacey Bendet, the CEO of Alice + Olivia and wife of Eric Eisner, is back in Idaho once again this year (above on Wednesday)

The mane event: Style star Stacey Bendet, the CEO of Alice + Olivia and wife of Eric Eisner, is back in Idaho once again this year (above on Wednesday)

Father and son: Michael Eisner (left), former chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, talks with his son Eric Eisner (right), founder and chief executive officer of Double E Pictures and Stacey Bendet's husband
Father and son: Michael Eisner (left), former chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, talks with his son Eric Eisner (right), founder and chief executive officer of Double E Pictures and Stacey Bendet's husband

Father and son: Michael Eisner (left), former chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, talks with his son Eric Eisner (right), founder and chief executive officer of Double E Pictures and Stacey Bendet's husband

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Adriana Cisneros
Adriana Cisneros

Mother and daughter: Art collector and philanthropist Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (left) and her daughter Adriana (right), CEO of Grupo Cisneros, arrive on Tuesday

The full list of topics has not yet been announced for this year's event, which takes place every July just after the holiday.

The real action for many onlookers though will happen in corridors, restaurants and golf courses rather than conference rooms.

It's there that these movers and shakers will discuss, establish and perhaps even unofficially close on deals that could have huge effects on the wider world.

Previous deals that have their roots at Sun Valley include the 1995 purchase of Capital Cities/ABC by Disney, Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2009, the purchase of AOL by Verizon in 2015, and Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post in 2013.

This year's deals could be more sports related however, thanks to the attendance of Stan Kroenke, who owns the Los Angeles Rams, and Casey Wasserman.

The sports agent headed up the committee to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles, and on Tuesday he got his wish, with the city set to host the 2024 or 2028 Summer Games.

Idaho is for lovers: Film producer Brian Grazer and his wife of one year Veronica Smiley
Idaho is for lovers: Film producer Brian Grazer and his wife of one year Veronica Smiley

Idaho is for lovers: Film producer Brian Grazer and his wife of one year Veronica Smiley

Bros: Harvey Weinstein (left), co-chairman and co-founder of Weinstein Co. and Tim Armstrong (right), chief executive officer of AOL on Wednesday 
Bros: Harvey Weinstein (left), co-chairman and co-founder of Weinstein Co. and Tim Armstrong (right), chief executive officer of AOL on Wednesday 

Bros: Harvey Weinstein (left), co-chairman and co-founder of Weinstein Co. and Tim Armstrong (right), chief executive officer of AOL on Wednesday 

Many guests arrived by private jet at nearby Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey before being chauffeured through 15 miles of lush rolling hills to the lodge, where they will remain until Sunday.

Entire families are invited to the event - a move that encourages older business figures to stay for the duration of the event, rather than to bounce back to their homes after just a couple of days.

And while a fresh new crop of young entrepreneurs and tech wunderkinds make their way to Sun Valley each year, it is those older attendees who are valued the most, as they are the more experienced and, most crucially, connected of the group.

Nannies are on hand to take care of the kids, of course, and entertainment for all takes the form of whitewater rafting, biking and hiking - as well as the less dangerous (though perhaps no less stressful) hobby of jostling egos over drinks and food.

The invite-only conference began in 1982, and in its early days founder Herbert Allen - who co-founded Allen & Company with brother Charles - had to beg invitees to come. Now the festival is a roaring success - and great promotion for the company.

This year's conference runs through Sunday and, like every other year, kicked off with a cookout on Tuesday and concludes with a more formal dinner. 

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