A slew of the world's rich-listers have descended on a tiny rural town for an exclusive, mysterious annual event dubbed "summer camp for billionaires".

Every year, the Allen & Co conference attracts a who's who of tech barons, media moguls and other elites.

Held in Sun Valley in Idaho in the US — an upscale ski resort with a population of just 1438 — the week-long get-together regularly attracts leaders from the planet's most powerful companies, including Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Among the glittering attendees this year are Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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What is the Allen & Co conference?

The conference has been held every July since 1983 in the American summer.

It is organised by private investment firm Allen & Company and brings together leaders in fields including media, technology, philanthropy, politics and finance.

Previous high-profile guests have included Bill and Melinda Gates, former UK leader Tony Blair, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, basketball star LeBron James, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and Oprah Winfrey.

The event is famous yet also highly secretive, and little is known about what actually goes on during the week.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Photo / Getty Images
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Photo / Getty Images

However, we do know wealthy guests stay in a luxurious mountain lodge and wheel and deal throughout the week — the major merger of media companies Comcast and NBC Universal, for example, is believed to have grown out of the conference.

It all takes place in the picturesque ski resort of Sun Valley — the first of its kind in the US, which boasts excellent skiing in winter and hiking and horseriding in the warmer months.

The small town is used to an upscale, celebrity clientele — but during the annual conference, its airport is full of the most expensive private jets money can buy.

Who's there this year?

2019 attendees include Sandberg and Cook as well as Instagram COO Marne Levine, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.

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Business Insider reports a potential merger between CBS and Viacom could be decided this year.

Other big name guests include CBS Corporation and Viacom vice chair Shari Redstone, Comcast chairman Brian Roberts, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and PayPal president Dan Schulman.