| LOS ANGELES, July 1
LOS ANGELES, July 1 Rupert Murdoch jets into
Idaho's Sun Valley next week for the year's most exclusive tech
and media industry gathering, armed with both the money and the
appetite for a major deal.
The 83-year-old Twenty-First Century Fox Inc chief
executive officer, a regular at investment bank Allen & Co's
annual gathering, is in the midst of a deal that would give Fox
the firepower to buy a content company.
Fox's 39 percent-owned British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc
is negotiating to buy Fox's Sky Italia and its Sky
Deutschland subsidiary in a deal that could net Fox
as much as $13 billion.
"He's got the capital, resources and credibility to do a
deal," said Mark Boidman, managing director of investment bank
Peter J. Solomon Company, who is not attending the conference.
"He's in a good position to know what to go after and when to do
Sun Valley will be teeming with CEOs whose companies might
fit the bill. Among expected attendees are Time Warner Inc CEO
Jeff Bewkes and Viacom Inc CEO Philippe Dauman.
Murdoch's interest in Time Warner despite its $62 billion
market value has been the subject of industry speculation. He
still covets the owner of HBO, among other potential targets,
according to a former News Corp employee told by executives
recently about Murdoch's interest.
The source did not know if Murdoch had made an approach.
Time Warner spokesman Keith Cocozza and Fox spokesman Nathaniel
Brown declined to comment.
"I'm not sure he could afford it, but you never want to say
that about Rupert Murdoch," said former Viacom President Frank
Biondi, an Allen & Co regular who is not going this year.
Some of the highest-profile chieftains in media and
technology, from Facebook Inc's Mark Zuckerberg to Apple
Inc's Tim Cook, gather at Sun Valley each year.
The conference generated deal discussions in the past.
Comcast Corp CEO Brian Roberts discussed NBC with
General Electric Co CEO Jeff Immelt one year. Biondi says
he began talks to sell Madison Square Garden to John Malone's
Liberty Media Corp there, but the deal fell apart.
Murdoch will be accompanied by sons Lachlan and James.
Earlier this year, the elder Murdoch elevated Lachlan to
non-executive co-chairman and James to co-chief operating
officer. James has been especially interested in acquisitions,
said a former top executive at News Corp familiar with
Murdoch will not be the only acquisition-minded executive in
Sun Valley next week.
Discovery Communications Inc CEO David Zaslav,
whose company in May bought control of European sports TV
programmer Eurosport, will be there.
So will Liberty Global Plc CEO Mike Fries, whose
company and Discovery are negotiating to buy a stake in Formula
(Reporting by Ronald Grover and Lisa Richwine; Edited by Edwin
Chan and Lisa Shumaker)