Transcript: Jamie Dimon Interview
The following is the unofficial transcript of an interview with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on CNBC's "Closing Bell" on April 3, 2008:
Maria Bartiromo, Host: I’m here with Jamie Dimon. Thank you for stepping out of the hearing and talking to us. Tell me what your reaction is. How did it go in there?
Jamie Dimon: I think it's completely appropriate that the government looked into a situation like this. It's unprecedented and has future implications of policies. I think the senators asked smart questions and they are thinking about the right issues.
Bartiromo: can you give us a sense of how it went down on that weekend, how you came up with the valuation of $2 and then $10, how it was that you actually came up with this price.
Dimon: it's really hard to do that because I think it's unprecedented in the 48-hour period that two companies and the government get together and pull up a transaction like that. A lot of the price had much more looking at the downside, how much risk could JPMorgan bear. Not the upside. We want to make sure that JPMorgan was never put in a position where its financial position was jeopardized in any way, shape, or form.
Bartiromo: And you're talking about a risk of 300 billion of assets.
Dimon: That's correct. And we took an unprecedented guarantee of customers & liabilities and I think the Bear Stearns employees, we want to win their hearts and minds. we think they have some great people. They've been there for a long time. They are proud and should be proud. So we want to welcome a lot of them to our company too.
Bartiromo: It's a tragic story, are really, some of them seeing that wealth decline.
Dimon: It's a tragic story and there by the grace could happen to any one of us.
Bartiromo: A lot of people talking about the relationship between you and Tim Geithner, how you and the fed got involved. Were there any other bidders at the table? Yours was the only bank that had the capacity to do this.
Dimon: I know other people that there were there and in the proxy they will have to disclose some of that but I think -- and I’m going to speak about Tim Geithner and secretary treasury Paulson and chairman of the receive Bernanke I think we're lucky to have public officials that dedicated, hard, creative and can go to work around the clock like they did.
Bartiromo: what are you expecting as far as the shareholder vote when that happens, as far as the Bear-Morgan conclusion.
Dimon: The additional guarenttes, the higher price the fact that we are going to own 39.5% is a foregone conclusion.
Bartiromo: The environment was a big part of that in there. Where would you say we are in terms of the ending?
Dimon: I never forecast the future because no one really knows. I try to make sure as a company we're prepared for additional bad times or hopefully good times. But I just don't know.
Bartiromo: Can you give me a sense of what you'll be keeping as far the Bear Stearns portfolio?
Dimon: We're treating it like a real merger. We're trying to bring in all their prime correspondents, brokers, equity, bear energy really try to get the best of both companies and it's hard work. A lot of the hard work is ahead for JPMorgan. It really hasn't happened yet to the systems and people.
Bartiromo: You only had 48 hours to do the due diligence, correct?
Dimon: That's correct.
Bartiromo: That had to be a huge risk.
Dimon: It's the last time I will ever do something like that. You have to know that there were 200 people in JPMorgan and probably an equal amount of people from Bear Stearns working around the clock, didn't go to sleep for a two or three-day period and just watching that teamwork of those folks really is something special. You should know, we really went out of our way to try to get every last person a job because there will be job loss in this but we want to make sure those great people find other financial companies in New York and maybe CNBC.
Bartiromo: Thank you so much. Good to talk with you. We appreciate it thank you. That was our exclusive interview with Jamie Dimon. You heard what he said. He's walking out of here with a major feeling of relief, I would say, because the bulk of that hearing just now really, the senators focused on the broad picture. Not a lot of grilling on how they came up with the price. Not a lot of grilling as far as the risk that was involved here. But I think that the reason is because people recognized that the company only had 48-hours to do due diligence and is taking on an enormous amount of risk, $300 billion in assets. Of course the fed backing up that additional 30 billion.