Herbert Allen

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Herbert Allen (Herbert Allen, Jr.) is President and CEO of Allen & Company, Inc..

Private Intelligence Briefings

A quiet gathering of the media's top elites to discuss mergers, with a keynote address by the head of the CIA, escaped mention in the mainstream press.

Each year, at the posh ranch of investment banker Herbert Allen Jr., the world's media elites meet to discuss strategy, possible mergers and editorial policy. It can only be called a media version of Bilderberg as government, corporate and media officials are meeting in secret, behind the usual wall of security. [1]

"Of all the people in the Bush Administration, perhaps no one was of more interest to the public last week than CIA Director George J. Tenet," Rick Ellis wrote July 16, 2003. "As the center of a whirlwind of controversy over claims that the agency had made mistakenly allowed President Bush to assert Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from Niger, Tenet was being sought by everyone from Dateline to Senate Intelligence Subcommittee. He was talking last week, but it wasn't to the public. He was in Sun Valley, Idaho, giving a private intelligence briefing to participants of the private (Allen & Company, Inc.) Media conference.

"The annual gathering includes nearly every major player of the world's media, technology and entertainment industries, and it's a reminder of just how insular, isolated and powerful the world's media owners are from the billions who consume their products. Organized by investment banker Herbert Allen, the get-together is a summer camp for Citizen Kane's, a place where the rich and powerful are able to meet over picnic lunches and fishing streams as they help determine what you'll be watching for the next few years," Ellis wrote.

"Participants this year included media giants such as Sumner Redstone (Viacom), John Malone (Liberty Media), Richard Parsons (AOL/Time Warner), Brian Roberts (Comcast), Barry Diller (former Vivendi/Universal Entertainment head), Les Moonves (CBS), Peter Chernin (News Corporation), TV entrepreneur Haim Saban, Michael Eisner (Walt Disney Company) and Howard Stringer (Sony). Technology is well represented as well, with both Microsoft's Bill Gates and Intel's joining in. Former FCC Chairman Bill Kennard was there, both as an executive of the private investment firm The Carlyle Group and a director of The New York Times Company.

"Wall Street is there in force, with both uber-investor Warren Buffett and fund manager Mario J. Gabelli (a major shareholder in Cablevision) attending.

"So what goes on during this week-long mogul love-fest? Sometimes, big deals are finalized (this is, after all, where Disney put together the deal to acquire ABC). But it's also a chance for these leaders of industry to get reacquainted in less stressful surroundings. As Bill Kennard recently told the NY Times, 'As the industry consolidates, you have fewer and fewer owners, and each of the owners have more reason to do business with each other, so in a place like this, where they are all here together, a lot of business gets done.'"

"While someone such as Barry Diller tells the press that he worries about media consolidation, he simultaneously is working to gain control of the Vivendi/Universal Entertainment assets. Apparently with the plan of retaining the movie studio and theme parks, while spinning off the cable channels to Viacom (a company which already owns everything from MTV to TNN). It's almost as if Diller is asking for someone to save him from his own greed," Ellis wrote.

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