Icahn Talks Dell; Lew on Debt Ceiling; Diller Backs Dimon
An informative and entertaining look at the must-see CNBC moments that will sharpen your business edge today, tomorrow and beyond. What follows is a look at some of the most compelling conversations and noteworthy moments broadcast on CNBC on Friday, May 10.
Activist investor Carl Icahn has teamed up with Southeastern Asset Management to offer a buyout bid for Dell, proposing an alternative to the $24.4 billion buyout proposed by founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
Speaking with CNBC's Scott Wapner on the "Fast Money Halftime Report," Icahn called his offer a "no-brainer."
"You could look at it real simplistically and not have to do a hell of a lot of work to know that the shareholders in this case are literally getting screwed," he said.
Michael Dell's plan would take the company private, buying shareholders out at $13.65 a share, to which Icahn said, "You can camouflage it with numbers and whatever, but $13.65 is a giveaway ... it's almost grand theft."
Icahn's offer would allow investors to continue to own Dell shares, so that they can hold on until the stock turnaround, which Icahn thinks is likely.
"Unlike a lot of the negative analysts are saying, we believe the potential is great," Icahn said of Dell's stock. "There is a lot of synergies between the enterprise software coming on stream and what Dell has today."
Michael Dell declined an interview with CNBC.
Treasury's Lew on Sequester, Debt Ceiling
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told CNBC on Friday that while it seems policymakers will be unable to agree on how to end the so-called sequester, a series of federal budget cuts that began on March 1, he blasted that "prevailing conventional wisdom" and called on lawmakers to quickly reach a "sensible compromise" to end the fiscal fiasco.
"I think that there are people on the Hill in both parties that want to do this. Obviously the political hurdles are still many, but we have to keep working at it," Lew told CNBC's Steve Liesman in an interview that appeared on "World Wide Exchange."
The budget written by President Barack Obama included some spending cuts that brings him "well into the sensible center," which Lew hopes congressional Republicans will view as an "invitation" to "come together and get this done."
Asked when the U.S. will hit its debt limit, Lew said a near $60 billion dividend payment to the government by Fannie Mae has helped push the deadline back until at least Labor Day.
"People shouldn't relax," Lew added. "Congress should deal with his right away. The fact that they have more time should not put off dealing with this."
Diller on TV Streaming Service Attacks, Defends Dimon
Media mogul Barry Diller told CNBC on Friday that the controversy over Aereo, a service that broadcasts traditional terrestrial television over the Internet for a fee, is a "bit overblown."
"Any time a new technology comes along, then the incumbent interests, so to speak, want to … clarify legal basis for it," said Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, in an interview on "Squawk Box," explaining that his product basically takes an over-the-air signal and transmits the signal online, just as a regular antenna would.
"What we're doing is we're taking a fee. You can say that fee is analogous to RadioShack selling you a DTV antenna," Diller explained. "If the law is changed to say that antenna providers have to pay retransmission, we'll pay it, but until you get RadioShack to do it, we're not going to volunteer."
Later, Diller defended embattled JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, who he called "as first rate as it gets." Dimon is under fire for his institution's mortgage practices and the $6.2 billion "London Whale" trading loss, but Diller said much of the criticism is just coming from activists or those with a special interest.
Some have demanded JPMorgan split its chairman and CEO role into two positions, but Diller said the bank would have nothing to gain from that, other than appearing to "slap Dimon on the wrist." Such a move, he said, would "make them dopes."