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SUN VALLEY, Idaho — Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg doesn’t appear to be letting the dramatic implosion of Quibi, his short-form video streaming startup, get him down.
The ex-Walt Disney chairman was spotted bright and early Wednesday morning at Allen & Company’s media and tech confab in Sun Valley, Idaho, chatting up Hearst CEO Steve Swartz on his way to breakfast.
When asked about his plans for the week, the hard-charging co-founder of DreamWorks Animation — who has recently turned his attention to correcting Los Angeles’s homeless problem — responded with just one word, “work.”
While Katzenberg’s chat with Swartz appeared to be casual, Sun Valley conference pairings are often closely watched and picked apart as “tea leaves” for potential collaboration and deals. Prior sightings that have resulted in deals include Jeff Bezos walking about the resort grounds where the annual conference is held with Donald Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Co., one month before the Amazon boss bought the paper in 2013.
In years past, Katzenberg could be spotted milling about the exclusive conference deep in conversation with the ex-CEO of Hewlett Packard Meg Whitman, who ended up becoming his partner in the ill-fated Quibi experiment, which was shuttered six months after launch despite shows staring Kevin Hart, Idris Elba, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Jonas.
Whitman was also spotted strolling the grounds on Tuesday evening, albeit not with Katzenberg.
Other sightings this year include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, alongside deputy Phillip Schulman, having an intimate conversation with Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke next to the resort’s duck pond just before the welcome BBQ dinner Tuesday evening.
Google in May announced a partnership with Shopify that appeared aimed at battling Amazon for a slice of the online retail market.
Around the corner outside the Konditeri bakery, venture capitalist and Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman was engaged in deep conversation that spanned well over an hour with another Reed — Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who has been a guest on Hoffman’s Master of Scale podcast about corporate culture.
Separately, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Peter Kern — who holds Dara’s previous job as Expedia CEO — were seen clinking glasses of beer at the Village Station bar also on Tuesday evening.
Asked about skyrocketing Uber prices that the company attributes to a driver shortage, Khosrowshahi told The Post, “Drivers are earning a lot of money and the driver shortage is getting much better.”
Even in ritzy Sun Valley, it was nearly impossible to call an Uber during the conference. On Monday and Tuesday, the app warned potential riders that no drivers were available. Meanwhile, taxi and black car services were booked-up, leaving visitors struggling to find rides.
On Wednesday morning, many conference attendees rolled in bright and early for a 7 a.m. outdoor breakfast ahead of the day’s activities, which included a talk by Lütke and Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, as well as activities like knitting and tennis.
On her way to breakfast, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg brushed off news that Donald Trump plans to sue her company for alleged censorship.
Asked for comment on the suit, Sandberg smiled, waved and said, “Just good morning!”
CEO of Time Warner Jason Kilar may soon be out of a job following Discovery’s deal with Time Warner, but he’s still a player in this year’s conference. When asked, he demurred to say whether he’s meeting with the soon-to-be chief of the Warner Bros. Discovery conglomerate David Zaslav about a possible role in the new company.
Other breakfast attendees included Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett — who arrived in a golf cart — as well as Apple CEO Tim Cook, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, IAC Chairman Barry Diller and his fashion designer wife Diane von Furstenberg, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman and former owner of The Mets Fred Wilpon.
But notably absent Wednesday morning were scandal-plagued Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. All three moguls plan to attend but are arriving late, Sun Valley security told The Post.
Sun Valley and nearby Ketchum are hot destinations for other rich and powerful people, even if they aren’t attending the Allen & Co. conference. Former military top brass James Mattis and David Petraeus were both spotted in the area this week despite not attending the conference, as was Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, sources told The Post.
This year’s conference also attracted what security said were the conference’s first protestors. On Tuesday evening, a group of more than a dozen activists stood outside the entrance to the conference holding signs with slogans like “tech should give a heck” and “I pay more tax than these a**holes.”
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