CNBC Transcript: CNBC's Scott Wapner Speaks with Carl Icahn, Chairman Icahn Enterprises, Today on CNBC's "Closing Bell"
When: Today, Monday, December 16, 2013
Where: CNBC's "Closing Bell"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Carl Icahn, Chairman Icahn Enterprises, today with CNBC's Scott Wapner.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
SCOTT WAPNER: WELCOME BACK TO THE "CLOSING BELL." I'M SCOTT WAPNER AT NEWS DESK WHERE WE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THIS DEVELOPING STORY REGARDING HERBALIFE WHOSE SHARES HAVE REOPENED FOR TRADING AND HAVE SPIKED ON THE NEWS THAT THE COMPANY HAS RECEIVED ITS REAUDITED FINANCIALS BACK FROM PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS. BILL AND KELLY, THAT STOCK RIGHT NOW IS UP AS I'VE SAID SEVEN PERCENT. THIS IS VIEWED AS A VERY POSITIVE MOVE BECAUSE OF WHAT IT COULD MEAN NEXT. THE COMPANY HAS BEEN WAITING FOR SEVERAL MONTHS TO GET ITS REAUDITED FINANCIALS BACK. REMEMBER, IT WAS KPMG WHICH WAS THE COMPANY'S THE ORIGINAL AUDITOR. THEY HAD THAT INCIDENT AND THEY MOVED ON WITH PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS AND NOW GUYS, THEY DO HAVE THE AUDITED FINANCIALS IN HAND, THEY HAVE FILED AN AMENDED 10-K AND A FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31 OF 2012. I DO HAVE CARL ICAHN LIVE ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW WITH US HERE ON CNBC. CARL, ARE YOU THERE?
CARL ICAHN: Yes, I am Scott.
SCOTT WAPNER: What does this news mean to you Carl?
CARL ICAHN: Well, I am certainly happy about it. You know, I'd like to say that I never really doubted that this a viable company. You know, I guess I was one of the few people that bothered to read that report a year ago when they made so much of it. And, when you read the report, if you bothered to read it. I believed it was nonsense then. And I think these criticisms are pretty much nonsense to begin with. When you say, yeah, maybe the marketing could be a little better or worse, I don't know. I am no expert on that. But this company IS a viable company for years and years and I think if you really look into it, it gives a lot of people work that are out of work. So I can't understand these criticisms that these people are being taken advantage of. There are a lot of people that make a living on it and some don't perhaps. And, it's not a secret that their earnings have been increasing at about a 10% clip. And if you look at the multiples today at the S&P, it's sort of a no brainer. I mean, the S&P have multiples of sixteen times earnings. Well this company, I haven't done the numbers recently, but maybe ten times earnings. Why should this company that is making ten percent increase not be going at twenty times earnings. Why are the other ones going at sixteen times? Sometimes investment is just sort of a no brainer. I think this one when I bought it obviously it was, and I disagreed vehemently with Ackman as you know.
SCOTT WAPNER: The stock as we are watching it live here on CNBC as it has reopened for trading, the volume is huge, The stock move is huge, it is up about ten percent and it's over 75 dollars a share now. I think the most applicable question now is, what happens next, right? Everyone sort of assumed that this was a company that wanted to do a buy back. Whether it was a debt fueled buy back, a leverage buy out of some sort. And they only had to wait until they got the audited financials back to actually make that move. So what happens now? What do you do? What does Bill Stiritz do? What happens?
CARL ICAHN: Well, look. As far as I am concerned, I want to tell you, I am not on the board. I do have confi on that and I certainly can't speak to this. I can only talk about my own opinion and, as you know, I am a big fan of buy backs on companies that I think are cheap. It is good for shareholders when you do buy backs. But even that said, that's my own personal opinion and I certainly have no information concerning that. But if you ask me as a shareholder, I think this company is undervalued as I have said for a long time. And I think when a company is undervalued and has capital, I am a fan that.
SCOTT WAPNER: But you'd admit that i guess getting an audited financial back, the next step in this whole affair could be that something happens. Whether it is a buy back of some sort. As I mentioned, possibly a leveraged buy out. it is much easier to borrow money, I guess my point is Carl, once you have audited financials back.
CARL ICAHN: Well you don't have to be a PHD in finance to figure that one out, right? Look, from my point of view, I feel that for those who believed in Herbalife, i think some of the doubters would say that they weren't going to get audited statements, but there is no reason for that in my opinion. And I think, as I have said all along, as I have said for over a year, let's just look at the numbers. You have a company growing at ten percent in an industry where their – they got one of the cheap multiples because of all this noise coming from for the most part from Bill Ackman.
SCOTT WAPNER: Bill Ackman himself just did another big presentation, Carl, at the Robin Hood conference that just wrapped up. It was almost a year to the day we are talking here right now that he first unveiled his short on Herbalife back at the Ira Sohn Conference. He has just done another presentation at Robin Hood and perhaps he was one of those out there doubting the fact of what the company could do because they didn't have their audited financials back.
CARL ICAHN: You know the statement, Scott, about certain people and the statement, often wrong, never in doubt. And I think that the case of Herbalife and Ackman that is the quintessential example of that statement.
SCOTT WAPNER: Carl, I appreciate you calling and talking to us about Herablife. I know I will speak to you in the coming days, but we certainly appreciate it. It is interesting development. I think a lot people on Wall Street were wondering when and if this was going to happen and if it was going to happen before the end of the year. Carl, thanks.
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