Break out your branded vests: Allen & Co.’s annual business, media and technology conference—the famously secretive conclave of the world’s rich and powerful—is coming back to Sun Valley next week.
You won’t see any signs, or find any press releases. The event’s de-facto motto? “No comment.”
But from the reshuffling of business schedules, to the preparations for private jets on the Hailey-Bellevue line, to the wink-wink, nudge-nudge around town down the hill in Ketchum, the resort will start to welcome early arrivals on July 9.
The event takes place after the Fourth of July, with panels, presentations and plenty of elbow-rubbing running into the weekend.
Its agenda is as secretive as the business that puts it on—and Allen & Co. is invisible. The private Fifth Avenue investment bank doesn’t have a website. George Tenet, the former head of the CIA, is said to be an employee. And the people who organize its event are contractually bound to silence. If you have to ask, you don’t need to know.
Here’s what we can say: It’s been that way since the event started nearly 40 years ago, and, in all likelihood, it’ll go on that way this time, too. Plenty of the biggest names—and richest people—are in on it, and many will be back to add another mandatory nametag and piece of aforementioned outerwear to their collections.
Brent Lang of Variety obtained a guest list at the end of May, which includes a litany of name-brand billionaires and executives. Among invitees: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the three richest people on the planet, per Forbes magazine; tech execs Tim Cook of Apple, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; and a smattering of the world’s most influential media moguls, like Shari Redstone of CBS and Viacom, Brian Roberts of Comcast and Bob Iger of Disney.
Deals tend to blossom when you get people like that cloistered in the same place, and Allen & Co. has sprouted its share.
Time Warner’s doomed merger with AOL is rumored to have grown from the meeting. Bezos’ $250 million purchase of The Washington Post, too.
This year? Who can say? But one thing’s for sure: Visitors and locals alike can speculate in that special Allen & Co. way—with their eyes open, and their mouths shut.