Sun Valley Conference 2021: Billionaire Summer Camp Explained and Who Is Attending

Some of the biggest names in technology, media and finance have gathered this week in Sun Valley, Idaho, for the latest edition of the annual conference hosted by Allen & Company, a private investment bank. The event has been dubbed the "summer camp for billionaires" due to its guest list.

The private conference, which marks its 38th year, was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are reportedly among those who have been spotted at this year's event, which began Tuesday and concludes on July 10.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was also seen at the conference in a video posted by a senior correspondent for Fox Business Network, Charles Gasparino.

Mark Zuckerberg at Sun Valley.
CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg walks with COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 8 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

"Love is in the air! Cc ⁦@JeffBezos⁩ and Lauren Sanchez are back in #SunValley more now on ⁦@FoxBusiness⁩ ⁦@LizClaman," Gasparino tweeted.

Love is in the air! Cc ⁦@JeffBezos⁩ and Lauren Sanchez are back in #SunValley more now on ⁦@FoxBusiness⁩ ⁦

— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) July 8, 2021

What Is the Sun Valley Conference?

The annual event is described to be a mixer for major tech and media moguls, according to a reporter for NPR's All Things Considered program, David Gura, who is at the event.

The invite-only conference gives executives a chance to meet, mingle and discuss deals in private, with all discussions and proceedings off the record. While the topics to be discussed at the conference are not disclosed to the public, some guesses for what might be on the table can be made based on the guest list, Gura says.

Tim Cook at Sun Valley event.
Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the Allen & Company Sun Valley conference on July 8 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Through the years, several major mergers, acquisitions and other deals have reportedly been made following discussions at the Sun Valley conference, such as Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post as well as Disney's acquisition of ABC, Insider reported.

Bloomberg reported Comcast Corporation's takeover of NBCUniversal and Verizon Communications Inc.'s acquisition of AOL were also said to have been facilitated at the conference.

Bill Gates at Sun Valley event.
President and CEO of Chubb Limited Evan Greenberg (left) and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates walk together at the Allen & Company Sun Valley conference on July 8 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Who Is Attending?

Several major company heads, media executives and other public figures have been pictured at the conference, according to images from Getty and other reports, including the following:

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook
  • Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates
  • Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings
  • ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone
  • Disney chairman Michael Iger
  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • GM CEO Mary Barra
  • WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar
  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav
  • CNN anchor Anderson Cooper
  • Film and television producer Brian Grazer
  • Fashion designer and Alice + Olivia CEO Stacey Bendet

According to Gura, several executives who have invested in cryptocurrencies were reported to be at the event, as well as those heading up companies focused on artificial intelligence.

The high-profile event saw an influx of private jets arriving at Friedman Memorial Airport near Sun Valley. Insider reported the busy private jet traffic on Tuesday saw the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ban other planes from the country's West Coast to as far as Michigan and Canada from departing.

Private jets at airport near Sun Valley.
Private jets park alongside grazing cows at the Friedman Memorial Airport ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 5 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images