It won't be quite as cheery as usual at Herb Allen's annual media mogul retreat, which kicks off today in Sun Valley. This time last year, the credit crisis was but a blip on the radar. Oh, how things have changed over the past twelve months. Without the billions on hand to close big deals, the economic downturn has made life pretty depressing for the master-of-the-universe set. But gather they will— the tennis and hiking must go on, damnit—and aside from the handful of players who were dropped from the invite list on account of their declining influence, all the media big shots are expected. Among those who will be cruising in on their company-owned jets: Rupert Murdoch (along with son Lachlan), Warren Buffett, Viacom chief Philippe Dauman, Les Moonves, Howard Stringer, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Jeff Bewkes and Dick Parsons of Time Warner, NBC's Jeff Zucker, Universal's Ron Meyer, Paramount chief Brad Grey, and Disney's Bob Iger.
Of course, no Allen confab would be complete without the tech mogul set. Google's Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt, will all make an appearance, as will Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang. (Fortunately, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is not planning to attend, so Yang won't have to suffer any awkward moments while rock-climbing or biking.) Fewer private equity titans will be on hand, since they're not nearly as useful now that they don't have the power to put billions into ill-advised media deals. Although KKR co-founder Henry Kravis will be there, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners were both dropped from the invite list. Other disinvited guests: former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and Oxygen founder Gerry Laybourne.
Fortunately, though, Sun Valley's greatest tradition will go on: Providing the world with clear evidence that despite their riches and many advisors, the entertainment/media world's most powerful figures still have absolutely no idea how to dress.