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Discovery’s David Zaslav promises more media merger mania at Sun Valley

Discovery's David Zaslav promises more media merger mania at Sun Valley

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — Allen & Co.’s “summer camp for billionaires” kicked off on Tuesday with David Zaslav of Discovery promising that the media merger frenzy created by the video streaming wars is far from over.

“We’re not done yet,” Zaslav said when asked about additional deal targets following Discovery’s $43 billion merger with AT&T’s entertainment unit WarnerMedia.

Although the planned merger will create a media behemoth — joining AT&T’s CNN, HBO, and Hollywood studio Warner Bros. with Discovery’s Food Network and TLC — Zaslav says he’ll continue to be on the lookout for other possible targets after the deal closes in about eight months.

“There’s a lot of assets out there that have good IP that will probably get new homes,” said Zaslav upon entering the posh conference grounds in Sun Valley, Idaho, wearing a short-sleeve t-shirt.

Jason Kilar, the head of WarnerMedia, which is soon to be merged with Discovery, arrives at the Allen & Co., conference in Sun Valley Idaho
Jason Kilar, the head of WarnerMedia, which is soon to be merged with Discovery, arrives at the Allen & Co., conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
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While Zaslav was one of the few media moguls to stop to speak to the press upon entering the invite-only event, his comments are undoubtedly on the tops of minds for other media moguls scrambling to compete with the likes of Netflix.

Other media bigs seen arriving on the posh resort grounds on Tuesday include Bob Chapek of Disney, Brian Roberts of NBCUniversal’s Comcast, Shari Redstone of ViacomCBS and Jason Kilar of WarnerMedia and Netflix co-CEO’s Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, the Kings of Streaming.

As moguls rolled in on Monday and Tuesday, dozens of private jets clogged the local airport and even prevented some attendees from arriving on schedule. But at least a few billionaires refused chauffeurs. Comcast’s Roberts arrived driving a black Toyota SUV, while Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett was spotted driving around town with a woman in an Escalade, one Sun Valley local told The Post.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, which owns NBCUniversal, arrives at the Sun Valley confab in Idaho Tuesday July 6.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, which owns NBCUniversal, arrives at the Sun Valley confab in Idaho on July 6.
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While all eyes are on the old-guard media and Silicon Valley titans, the storied confab, run by secretive investment bank Allen & Co., will kick off Wednesday with a keynote from younger tech stars like Patrick Collison, the CEO of red-hot fintech startup Stripe, which is among the world’s most valuable private companies, The Post has learned.

Collison is scheduled to speak alongside Shopify’s Tobias Lutke first thing on Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m., according to a copy of the confab’s confidential schedule obtained by The Post.

Thursday’s keynote will be led by King Abdullah Il Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan, followed by a session on creativity featuring husband-wife pair IAC chairman Barry Diller and fashion designer Diane von Fustenberg.

Netflix Co-CEOs of Netflix Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos arrive for the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 06, 2021 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Netflix Co-CEOs of Netflix Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos arrive for the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 6, 2021, in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Getty Images

Activities, the schedule says, will include the usual suspects of hiking, golf and tennis, but also (oddly for this crowd) knitting.

Missing from the public eye on Tuesday were the tech moguls slated to attend, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.

Their lack of showmanship comes as Silicon Valley faces antitrust probes in Washington, and as companies like Apple face growing criticism by peers for the high fees it charges apps that sell goods via the Apple App Store.

Diller — an outspoken mogul who arrived at the conference in a silver mustang convertible — has recently slammed Apple’s app store fees as “disgusting” and is reportedly feuding with Google over accusations that IAC used deceptive marketing practices.

Asked by The Post if he expects to clash with fellow attendees like Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Diller said “absolutely.”

“No, that was a joke,” he added before speeding off.

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Julia Mangels

Julia has handled various businesses throughout her career and has a deep domain knowledge. She founded Stock Market Pioneer in an attempt to bring the latest news to its readers. She is glued to the stock market most of the times and just loves being in touch with the developments in the business world.

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