On CNBC’s On the Money Wednesday Melissa Francis wondered: “Who does everyone want to talk to this year, Andrew, who’s hot?” Replied the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, Francis’ guest (whose photo-heavy blogging from the conference — “Sun Valley Diary” — on his DealBook blog on the Times’ Web site is truly Us Weekly-esque), “It seems that Chad Hurley who runs YouTube is the man to be around. Everyone is going to kiss the ring…” When Francis later asked Sorkin what “deals” he thinks might go down, he replied “I’m sort of looking in the crystal ball thinking next year we may be talking about [an eBay-Yahoo!] transaction.”
On Bloomberg’s Open Exchange yesterday Greg Miles reported: “Younger entrepreneurs are attending these conferences, the so-called rising stars. One of them is Chad Hurley, CEO of a company called YouTube. That’s one of the fastest Internet growing firms that shares movie clips on the Internet. … There’s speculation that that company could get bought out by other companies here at Sun Valley.” Later, when asked, “What are you hearing about deals made out in Sun Valley this year?” Miles bristled, “They actually haven’t called me up and told me the deal they’re going to do…” before obliging, “You have John Malone … he’s been negotiating with Rupert Murdoch for about a year. … Some analysts and investors are speculating that maybe over a glass of chardonnay, red wine, whatever they drink, maybe they’ll move that along here at Sun Valley.”
CNBC’s Cobb, too, reported the Malone-Murdoch drinking date rumor —differing only on the beverage to be consumed. “Look for [John Malone and Rupert Murdoch] having coffee together perhaps tonight,” Cobb told Melissa Francis yesterday, speculating that “the two of them are trying to untangle their complex relationship.”
But who can blame reporters for speculating? After all, the muckity-mucks aren’t exactly giving enlightening quotes.
CNBC’s Jerry Cobb got Barry Diller, CEO of Think Partnership, to open up Wednesday and admit, “It’s been fantastic so far. I mean, it has been so exciting! Like, too energetic.” Cobb also cadged this nugget from the former head of BET, Robert Johnson: “This is the best place to meet and greet interesting people and to, you know, look for ideas and opportunities.” And he got this gem from CBS CEO Les Moonves: “It’s always a fascinating week. It’s been that way for over 20 years now. And I’m looking forward to it being just as fascinating if not more so.” As well as this very special sound byte from former Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz: “There’s always something to learn. I couldn’t be happier about being here.”
Meanwhile, Reuters’ Kenneth Li extracted this stunning insight from Blake Krikorian, chief executive of Sling Media Inc: “Convergence is finally upon us.”
With so much aggressive reporting going on, we were surprised to read, in a report by the Associated Press’ Michael Liedtke, “Almost all the billionaires seem to feel comfortable enough to roam the publicly accessible resort without bodyguards.”
But then we read a bit further and discovered that “[Herb] Allen’s company has hired a security detail to patrol for the event, mostly to ensure that the reporters hovering outside the private meetings don’t badger the guests for interviews and pictures.”