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Activist investor, big pharma & lil' 'Squawkers' deliver!


Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights, and some sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.

The Comeback Kid

Bill Ackman
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Say what you want about Bill Ackman or activist investors in general, but what happened this week with the Pershing Square Capital Management founder and his latest venture was a big deal. And I'm not just talking about him teaming up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to buy Botox-maker Allergan. I'm talking about what this means for activism, CEO leadership, and how deals are structured from here on out.

Ackman also addressed his much-publicized Herbalife short—saying losses from betting against the nutritional supplement company have been "more than cut in half" based on the recent downturn of the stock.


Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

This was one of those weeks where you would have no idea what you would have done without Joe (as opposed to other weeks!!!) We woke up Tuesday to discover Novartis was buying GlaxoSmithkline's cancer drug business for $16 billion; selling its vaccine business to GlaxoSmithkline for $7.1 billion; selling its animal health division to Eli Lilly for $5.4 billion; and putting its flu business up for sale.

Ugh! drug companies. That means terms like Bacteriostatic, Extravasation, Intravenous Hyperalimentation, Therapeutic Equivalency Codes, and of course, who could forget The Bolar Amendment.

Joe! Help!

The CEO of GlaxoSmithKline is waiting to be interviewed! And Joe, while you're on the subject, as soon as you are done, can you interview the CEO of Eli Lilly?

News tidbits you can (kind-of) use

Think of it as your own personal body-lawn mower—"old school" with no motor! Procter & Gamble is betting big on the future of Manscaping.

Yet, only "Squawk Box" can interview the CFO of a Fortune 100 company and ask him if he'll volunteer to be "Manscaped" on national TV.

Rock what you got

Yummie: Not your grandma's girdle anymore

It's not a dirty little secret anymore! At least according to Heather Thomson, founder of Yummie by Heather Thomson.

If you have no idea what I am talking about watch this interview with Thomson discussing how her company is redefining the shape-wear industry, carving out a piece of the market and teaching Joe how to "Rock What You Got."

Earnings beat on better US, China growth

Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberhelman speaks to guests at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman dug deep into his company's first-quarter results and shared his outlook on global sales for us. The heavy equipment maker beat on earnings and revenue.

He also talked China—and why all the company's businesses there are "doing well" despite the possible risks he sees from an economic slowdown and political reform.

Right after the Oberhelman interview, "Squawk on the Street" and "" host Jim Cramer gave us his take on the stock and why he wished his charitable trust owned it.

Earnings on tap

Lil' Squawkers

Thursday was "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day"—one of our favorite days of the year on "Squawk Box" and the Lil' Squawkers didn't disappoint. Check out the highlight reel of the kids reading teleprompters, giving stock advice, and asking the important questions!

(In this picture, "Squawk Box" Senior Producer @RobContino is showing my daughter, Kimiko Quayle, how to say "wrap" 20 times in a row just to get the anchor's attention!)

Must follow them @

Shout-outs this week to @morningmoneyben ... for his Monday appearance and we still feel for him after Joe told him on air that he has to lose weight. You look great Ben!

And meet @megtirrell ... thanks to CNBC's new biotech and pharma reporter for being thrown into the fire and making her Squawk debut this week. And she lived to tell about it!

Hair Nation

"Joe the Activist Investor" ... courtesy of "Squawk Box" Director @PaulDeFabo and Technical Director @Keith_Falcone!

I thought the interview with Bill Ackman went real well this week. But if he sees what we do to guests in the control room when we get bored, he might not share my opinion.

Word Jumble

"Squawk Box" co-hosts Joe Kernen and Becky Quick keep a handwritten record of their daily Word Jumble standings going back years.
Matthew J. Belvedere | CNBC

After the Good Friday shortened week, Becky and Joe got back down to business on their seven-year Word Jumble grudge match. Joe got two wins and Becky had one. Joe's bonus Jumbled word of the week is AIMCEN. And Becky's is DCINRO. Get the answers at the end of the blog.

Mark your calendar (or set your DVR)

  • Monday: Brian Peery (Hennessy Funds)
  • Tuesday: Jack Welch!
  • Wednesday: Sandy Weill!
  • Thursday: Roger Altman (Evercore), James Paulsen (Wells Capital), John Rogers Jr. (Ariel Investments)
  • Friday: Mike Jackson (AutoNation), Marc Farber (Gloom, Boom, & Doom)

Economic calendar

  • Monday: Pending home sales (10 a.m. ET)
  • Tuesday: CNBC25 list revealed at 7 a.m. ET, FOMC meeting begins, consumer confidence (10 a.m. ET)
  • Wednesday: ADP private payrolls report (8:15 a.m ET), GDP (8:30 a.m. ET), employment cost index ( 8:30 a.m. ET), FOMC meeting ends (announcement 2 p.m. ET)
  • Thursday: Jobless claims (8:30 a.m. ET), personal income and spending (8:30 a.m. ET)
  • Friday: Employment report (8:30 a.m. ET)

The Corny-Sappy Motivational Business-Based Inspirational Quote

"The new source of power is not money in thehands of a few, but information in the hands of many."
—John Naisbitt, author and futurist

*Joe's Jumble bonus word answer: AIMCEN = ICEMAN

*Becky's Jumble bonus word answer: DCINRO = NORDIC

—By CNBC's Matt Quayle.