Economy impacting traditional deal-making frenzy at Mogulfest

What do you get when you put a group of moguls together in a small space? A ski run, a difficult stretch on a golf hole, and the potential for a mega-deal like Comcast-NBC Universal being fomented over drinks, food and general camaraderie.

Mega-deals have been so much the norm that they're almost part of the written agenda at the media Mogulfest sponsored annually by Allen & Company at Sun Valley, Idaho. This year, however, befitting an economy that won't seem to spring back to life, talk has been that the deals might be smaller and, indeed, might not happen at all.

"Big companies are sitting on their cash because they are not sure what they should do, but small businesses can't get cash. The economy is stalled," said ever-quotable John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Group.

Those comments--how to hoard or make money rather than spend it--seemed to sum up the first few days of the conference, which in the past was the birthing ground for Disney's acquisition of ABC.

"The overriding issue for all content companies is whether we are getting paid fairly," said CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, reflecting a trend by content producers to find some way to stop the steamrolling free Internet model.

As for the results of past mogul gatherings, NBC Universal boss Jeff Zucker said the proposed $30 billion merger (most would call it a takeover) between his company and Comcast is "on track."

For more:
- see this NY Times blog post
- and this Post story
- BusinessWeek has this story
- and Business Insider has this story

Related article:
TV Everywhere, media consolidation will be hot topics at Mogulfest