For Allen & Co., a return to normal almost | Business


Billionaires wearing badges no longer walk around Sun Valley Village in casual clothes. Reporters from national public radio and financial publications have moved on to other hot spots. Shiny private jets no longer fill the parking lot at Friedman Memorial Airport.

Allen & Co.’s 38th Annual Media, Tech, Financial and Sports Titans Conference concluded relatively calmly last weekend, with many guests returning home after events ended. organized on Saturday. As of Tuesday, no major acquisitions or mergers – one of the goals of the New York City investment bank hosting the conference – had been revealed. Nonetheless, the so-called ‘billionaire summer camp’ appeared to be a solid success, following a hiatus last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft chats with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos heads to the Sun Valley Lodge. Apple CEO Tim Cook smiles at reporters. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper arriving in a golf cart. Netflix mogul Reed Hastings sipping a cold San Pellegrino.

These were some of the fleeting images from the five-day conference at the Sun Valley Resort. In the end, they were very similar to other years. But the pandemic caused some changes, and other parts of the Allen & Co. confab just evolved.

Notable differences this year have reportedly included a requirement that guests be vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, they were tested for the virus upon arrival. And, they didn’t bring their children, who in the past were invited to participate in activities ranging from golf and tennis to fly fishing and rafting.

In the past, scheduled roundtables and forums were held in the Sun Valley Inn conference center. This year, many gatherings were held outdoors, at the Sun Valley Pavilion and at smaller, makeshift venues in the village. Chefs and caterers animated the meals in the green spaces around the Sun Valley Inn.

Over the years, security has improved considerably. Many entry points into Sun Valley Village were blocked by large SUVs piloted by security guards equipped with radios. Temporary fences and hedges demarcated the gathering areas for guests. The guards stood near the entrances to the fenced areas, next to the signs indicating “Private function”.

Still, security didn’t seem to stifle activity. As guests walked between the village center and the Sun Valley Lodge, they smiled at reporters and photographers standing in a designated pen. Some questions with short answers.

The return from the conference was certainly a welcome event for the resort and other traders and independent workers in the Wood River Valley.

Harry Griffith, executive director of the nonprofit Sun Valley Economic Development, said an analysis of the economic impact of the conference conducted four years ago placed the value at “north of $ 3 million “over a period of five days. A full scan has not been repeated since then, Griffith said, but the figure has almost certainly increased.

“On a dollar per day basis, this is one of the most valuable events we have,” Griffith said.

Scott Fortner, executive director of the Visit Sun Valley marketing organization, said the conference had a major “downstream effect” outside of the Sun Valley Resort, for hotels, restaurants, guides, security guards, caterers and other parts of the Wood River Valley economy.

“This event is well planned and people can count on,” he said.

In addition, Fortner said, the conference contributes to the economy in other ways. Some participants choose to buy real estate in the area. And Allen & Co. has been a philanthropic partner in the community, he noted.

Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Blaine County, the company donated $ 1 million to the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, which raises funds to support various programs and health services in the Wood River Valley.

Meanwhile, the conference also provides valuable media exposure to Sun Valley and Wood River Valley, Fortner noted. International and national reports on the event generally describe Sun Valley as an idyllic retreat in the Rocky Mountains, indirectly providing a form of free marketing.

Another successful Allen & Co. conference marks a success for the community as a whole, Fortner said.

“It’s quite astonishing, the level of service that is provided,” he said. “I think the community should be pretty proud of this. “

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