WHEN: Today, Thursday, June 12th
WHERE: CNBC's "Closing Bell"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Tiger Management Founder Julian Robertson. Excerpts of the interview will run throughout CNBC's "Closing Bell" (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET) today.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: You're all nice to come by. I really appreciate it.
KELLY EVANS: Julian Robertson, thank you so much for having us. You're one of the most legendary investors today. And a lot of people look to you-- as a thought leader, especially in the tech world. One of your biggest holdings today is Google. Why the belief in Google, from here? Why this company? Is it Eric Schmidt?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: It's the fact that the company has a moat around it, that is so wide, no one can breach it. And I think it is developing new devices at all times. People aren't aware exactly where it will ever stop. I'm a big fan of Uber. And I think Google owns 20% of Uber. No one ever thinks of Google when they jump into an Uber. But I think it sort of shows the advances they can make in this automatic type machine economy that we will eventually end up with.
KELLY EVANS: So do you use Uber?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Oh, yes.
KELLY EVANS: Really?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Uh-huh.
KELLY EVANS: How often?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well whenever I can't get a cab.
KELLY EVANS: Which is fairly so Julian Robertson has a problem getting a cab in this city?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: It's fairly often.
KELLY EVANS: So Uber is worth somewhere in the range of $17 billion to $18 billion. And-- but since that latest round of funding was announced, there has been wide disagreement over whether that's too high a price or valuation or not for Uber. Would you invest with Uber?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, I've-- I don't know enough about Uber to possibly make that decision. But I'd say Uber was a very interesting company. And let me assure you, I would invest at twice the price that Google paid for their first shares.
KELLY EVANS: Their first shares in Uber?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Yeah.
KELLY EVANS: Well, and that was a couple of years ago.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: That's what I meant.
KELLY EVANS: The company is only four years old. Where do you think it goes from here, because they have a lot of people-- look, we have protests across Europe today. We have competitors saying they don't have commercial insurance and they're not playing by the rules. A backlash from cabbies, a political influential organization in states like Virginia. You worried about any of that?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I think the consumer is king. And the consumer loves it.
KELLY EVANS: You don't own a lot of consumer stocks though. I guess maybe we have to change our thinking about what a consumer in name is then.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, I think certainly a person who uses Uber or a taxi is a consumer of their--
KELLY EVANS: What about a name like Gilead?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I love Gilead right now. I think it's fabulous. It's a model of technology company with-- in the drug area in that they really have a cure for Hepatitis C. They have some wonderful AIDS drugs a lot of anti-cancer stuff on the way. They've shown great ability to buy companies at the right price. They're going to get inundated with cash from the profits on the Hepatitis C drug. And in the past, they've done a wonderful job with handling their cash. I think Gilead is really pharmaceutical steal.
KELLY EVANS: You know, Google has its famous motto, "Don't be evil." Do you think Valeant Pharmaceuticals is an evil company in the sense that detractors say what it does is buy up pharmaceutical companies, strip of the research and development in order to increase profits. And that if everybody ran like that in the pharma or health care sector, how we wouldn't have any future for this important industry.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: And I think the Valeant people whom I have a lot of respect for, would say that if everyone ran wild with research that's some of the big companies do they will be taken over by the Valeants and people like that in the future.
KELLY EVANS: What is the best run company in the world today?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I would say Google is one.
KELLY EVANS: Really? Under what criteria?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, under the criteria of intelligent people at the top doing the right thing.
KELLY EVANS: Here's a headline on Google today: Google's Schmidt attends off the record marketed conference on "Inclusive Capitalism--" a conference where George Soros, whose career years he's often been compared with, and Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever, were looking at the capitalist "Threat to capitalism."
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, I didn't quite get all that. But I'm a big fan of George Soros too. You know what I mean, and both as an investor and as a philanthropist. I think he's worth listening to. Although, I don't know what you're referring to.
KELLY EVANS: Let me put it this way. If guys who you think have, as we said, been worth watching for what they've done with their businesses, like Eric Schmidt at Google, with their investing careers, like George Soros, and they all seem to see a capitalist threat to capitalism, do you share that view, that it would seem more people seem to have that capitalism is not inherently, or no longer, a force for good?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, I don't-- I'm-- I've-- I certainly do not share that view. And I think capitalism is a great force for good. And I think New York City is a great example of where capitalism has been a great for building the city. And your practitioners of capitalism in this city have been great givers to the city. And I think New York has thrived under that type of setup.
KELLY EVANS: Do you see the new mayor, Bill de Blasio as a threat to all that?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Very definite.
KELLY EVANS: How so?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, I think he's a threat to all other-- he is-- he-- the former mayor encouraged capitalism, encouraged wealthy people to come here. And I suppose the-- you might-- someone might call that a trickle down effect that these people—that they're spending the trickle down to other people.
But it's much more-- not a trickle here. It's a flood. And that's why New York has been so prosperous. And I think Bill de Blasio is a tragic threat because he's also taking away the greatest opportunity of the people he wants to help the most by attacking the charter schools.
KELLY EVANS: But there is a progressive mood across many parts of this country, a sense that a lot of people hold that something about capitalism or democracy today isn't working. And look at what just happened in Virginia, where Eric Cantor just became the first House Republican leader ever to be upset in a primary loss, fueled perhaps to some extent by this anger that he didn't quite tap into. What do you think is the message of his loss? As a big GOP donor yourself, how worried are you for the future of the party, if at all?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, no, I'm-- I was shocked by that. I think Eric is a very fine man. I think Eric was too busy doing his job of running-- helping run America, and he didn't pay quite enough attention to the electorate. And he lost. And that happens sometimes. But I think Eric has not been heard of for the last time.
KELLY EVANS: Well, he already seems to be suggesting the same thing, that his career isn't over. But what do you think is the message that he failed to listen to from his electorate?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I just don't think he took them as seriously as he should've.
KELLY EVANS: Do you --
JULIAN ROBERTSON: With the reelection.
KELLY EVANS: If this is about immigration and I have no idea whether it is, but if that fed into this, do you support immigration reform in this country?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I support immigration reform. I-- but I would like for our criteria on immigration to be higher. I would like for us to have the criteria of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford not some fly by night college that is desperate for money. And in America now, we are opening the floodgates, without getting great people into it.
The ocean, in years gone by, has been a great barrier and has ensured we get great people in. I don't think our immigration laws are correct. I think it's much more difficult. I give some scholarships to Duke University. And one of our people was doing very well in private equity up here. He lost his visa and had to return to New Zealand. It's-- meanwhile--
KELLY EVANS: But isn't the message of America, to some extent is on the Statue of Liberty, "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"? Isn't that a pillar of what has made this country so special and unique in the world?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: As I say, that was right when the Statue of Liberty was made, that, give us your tired, your weak and-- because they really couldn't get here because of the great oceans. And that was the safeguard of our immigration.
Now, people just hop on a plane and they're here. And I think our standards should be high. I would rather have an upstanding-- well-- college graduate-- and a striving college graduate from Kenya, than a refugee from Bangladesh who has had no schooling and has had no interest in school.
KELLY EVANS: On the 2016 front, who are you throwing your weight behind?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well in 2016 it's a long way, way ahead of who's going to be running. I don't really have a candidate right now. I was crushed about Eric Cantor last night.
KELLY EVANS: Well, maybe he could reemerge in that field. It-- you never know--
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Really--
KELLY EVANS: --in politics.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: --you never know. You never know.
KELLY EVANS: Who do you think is the greatest investor alive today?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I think-- I-- I've-- the man I respect the most in the business, and he's in the hedge fund business, is probably Stan Druckenmiller.
KELLY EVANS: And why so?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: He's just so smart and so good and so up on everything. I think he's fantastic investor.
KELLY EVANS: Do you think there's something broken with markets today, whether it's Michael Lewis' claims that the markets are rigged or other people saying that capitalism has all become too short-term focused?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: No, no, no, no. We have a great bubble economy. The managers of our economy all over the world are making it unattractive to own bonds at all. Now, it is not fair to say that they are pushing stock prices up, but they are. They are because bonds are so unattractive that people have no alternative way to put their money. And so they're jamming them into stocks and-- up, up, up we go. And I wonder what will happen when the bond market turns.
KELLY EVANS: We saw some signs of a mini collapse maybe in March and April. A lot of the so-called funds, you've had something like 33 funds managing $25 billion I think it is in assets, first from your time at Tiger Global. In any case, a lot of them got hurt during that period. Did you get a lot of phone calls, a lot of questions, people coming to you for advice? What did you think about that period?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I think they probably went to younger people for advice, and they're probably smart to do that. I wasn't inundated at that time.
KELLY EVANS: Is there something in that concentration of tech funds that is a problem, or is it just a reflection of the opportunity that you've seen during your investing career and they seem to see here today? Even though Warren Buffett says he doesn't like a lot of these tech names, you should only invest in what you know, and he only knows Coke and Ketchup.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Well, I think that's a little unfair to Warren. He's been involved in a lot of things over his life. And I'm a big fan of his too. But Warren's certainly been involved in more things than Coke and Ketchup.
KELLY EVANS: Last question. Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, is he the new-- is he the country's new Steve Jobs?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: I don't know whether-- well, I—he could be. And I know a lot of people who think he's better than Steve Jobs. I'm not-- having read the book on Steve Jobs I'm not a great fan of his in the world. Having said that, he did a lot of great things. I'm not sure whether Jeff Bezos is the greatest thing in the world coming along, or if he may be the emperor with no clothes.
But he certainly gets a free pass. He has the multiple likes of which no one else in the world has. And he has certainly used that effectively. I might say also that he runs one of the most effective charities with his family in the world, the African Leadership Academy. And it's making leaders for that continent. It may be the greatest hope for that whole area.
KELLY EVANS: You still think you have a novel in you?
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Probably not. I've-- my sons have put together the novel for me on my eightieth birthday. And it was a very long range exercise. And I was the hero, the villain, joker, everything in it. I'm glad I didn't publish it.
KELLY EVANS: So they've covered all the ground for you? Julian Robertson, thank you so much for your time this morning.
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Thank you.
KELLY EVANS: Really appreciate it--
JULIAN ROBERTSON: Thank you. Thank you.
KELLY EVANS: Thank you.
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