WHEN: Today, Wednesday, April 4, 2012
WHERE: CNBC’s “Squawk Box”
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Eddie Lampert, Founder of ESL Partners and Chairman of Sears Holdings, today on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6-9am ET). All references must be sourced to CNBC.
“I THINK RISK IS COMING BACK INTO THE MARKETS. I THINK PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO PUT THEIR MONEY AT RISK. THEY WANT A RETURN ON MONEY RATHER THAN JUST WORRYING ABOUT A RETURN OF THEIR MONEY. YOU'RE STARTING TO SEE THIS. LOW INTEREST RATES ARE HAVING AN IMPACT. PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF NOT MAKING ANY MONEY AS THE MARKETS GO UP IT SORT OF BRINGS OTHER PEOPLE BACK INTO THE MARKETS.”
LAMPERT ON REGULATION:
“I'M NOT A BIG REGULATION FAN. WHEN I THINK ABOUT WHAT’S COMING POTENTIALLY WITH HEALTH CARE IT'S HARD TO REALLY MAKE SENSE FOR A LARGE COMPANY WITH A LARGE POPULATION OF WORKERS. WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN? WHAT ARE THE RULES GOING TO BE? HOW MANY DIFFERENT ITERATIONS ARE THERE GOING BE? SO I THINK THAT UNCERTAINTY ONE WAY OR THE OTHER I THINK WILL BE HELPFUL IN LETTING BUSINESSES MOVE FORWARD.”
LAMPERT ON INVESTING ABROAD:
“I THINK BACK 20 YEARS WHEN INVESTING OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE ACCOUNTING STANDARDS WERE UNCLEAR. THE IDEA OF ACTUALLY CREATING SHAREHOLDER VALUE WAS LESS PERVASIVE AND I THINK THE ACCOUNTING IS MUCH MORE TRANSPARENT AND I THINK THE ATTITUDES HAVE CHANGED. BUT I THINK THAT WE'RE SORT OF GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION FROM A REGULATION STANDPOINT. A LOT OF THE REST OF THE WORLD IS ACTUALLY MORE REGULATED BUT MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. SO THAT IS GOING TO UNLEASH A LOT OF POTENTIAL, AND THAT'S WHAT YOURE SEEING IN CHINA, INDIA, PLACES LIKE THAT."
LAMPERT ON REINVENTION:
“I THINK COMPANIES ESPECIALLY IN RETAIL ARE FINDING THEMSELVES IN THE NEED OF REINVENTION. J.C. PENNEY IN THE NEED OF REINVENTION. SEARS IN THE NEED OF REINVENTION. WE'RE SEEING BEST BUY RECENT COMMENTARY, IN NEED OF REINVENTION. AND THAT MEANS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY NEW THINGS AND IF YOU'RE UNWILLING TO TRY NEW THINGS AND TO FAIL AND LEARN, YOU DON'T HAVE A SHOT.”
LAMPERT ON ADAPTING:
“PEOPLE ARE ADAPTABLE. COMPANIES ARE ADAPTABLE. YOU EITHER ADAPT OR DIE. SO JUST TWO OR THREE YEARS, $4 OIL IT'S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE AND IT WAS OBVIOUS BEFORE IS NOT OBVIOUS NOW. I THINK RETAIL -- I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE GREAT AND IT HAS BEEN GREAT FOR THE AMERICAN CONSUMER. THE QUESTION IS IT GOOD FOR BUSINESS? I THINK A LOT OF BUSINESSES WILL HAVE PROFITLESS PROSPERITY AND WE'VE GOT TO ADAPT.”
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