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WHEN: Today, Wednesday, November 11th
WHERE: CNBC's "Closing Bell"
Following is the unofficial partial transcript of a CNBC interview with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank live from CNBC and Inc. Magazine's iCONIC conference in Washington, D.C. today. Following is a link to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000452385.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
KELLY EVANS: LET'S HEAD BACK DOWN TO WASHINGTON, D.C. NOW. THE ICONIC CONFERENCE WHERE CNBC'S SCOTT WAPNER THERE IS TALKING TO UNDER ARMOUR CEO KEVIN PLANK.
SCOTT WAPNER: YOU LITERALLY JUST HAD YOUR FIRST BILLION DOLLAR QUARTER EVER. I DON'T WANT TO GLOSS OVER THAT. CAN YOU PUT THAT INTO PERSPECTIVE, FROM START-UP TO A BILLION-DOLLAR QUARTER.
KEVIN PLANK: I HAD ONE OF MY DIRECTORS, WE JUST CELEBRATED ACTUALLY, THIS WEEK, THE END OF THIS WEEK, WE'LL CELEBRATE, THIS SATURDAY, ACTUALLY, OUR TENTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY AS A PUBLIC COMPANY, AT WHICH TIME WE'LL HAVE AVERAGED A 30% TOP LINE KEGGER. AND WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE ENTREPRENEURS IN THE ROOM, EQUALLY, A 30% BOTTOM LINE KEGGER. YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN PROFITABLE SINCE 1998. IT IS PART OF WHAT AND WHO WE ARE. YOU KNOW, WINNING I BELIEVE IS A CULTURE JUST AS MUCH AS LOSING IS. AND FOR KEEPING IT ON THE CALM, WE'LL GET THEM NEXT QUARTER, I THINK THAT IDEA OF – I ENCOURAGE ENTREPRENEURS WHENEVER I CAN. YOU HEAR PEOPLE TALK ABOUT HOW IS YOUR BUSINESS. AND THEY ARE GOING GREAT. WE JUST HAD A $4 MILLION RAISE. LIKE THAT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS. AND YOU FIND AND SEE PEOPLE THAT BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO THE BUSINESS OF RAISING CAPITAL. AND I THINK THAT THE CHEAPEST CAPITAL IN THE WORLD IS PROBABLY SITTING IN YOUR INVENTORY RACKS OR THE PRODUCT THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SELL BECAUSE, NUMBER ONE, IT DOESN'T REQUIRE A BOARD SEAT AND DOESN'T HAVE AN OPINION TO WEIGH IN ON WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO WITH YOUR BUSINESS. SO USE THAT AS YOUR CAPITAL, GO SELL WHAT YOU HAVE AND GO RAISE MONEY.
WAPNER: SO YOU GUYS ARE DOING INCREDIBLY WELL. THE WHOLE SECTOR OR SEGMENT OF WHERE YOU DO YOUR BUSINESS, THE SO-CALLED ATH-LEISURE AND OTHERWISE IS DOING INCREDIBLY WELL. HOW LONG IS THAT RUNWAY, DO YOU THINK?
PLANK: WELL, THE ONE THING ABOUT WHETHER – LIVING THROUGH THE DIFFICULTIES OF JUST LOOK AT THE LAST TEN YEARS, LET ALONE THE LAST 15 YEARS, AND WE'VE SEEN TREMENDOUS AMOUNTS OF EBBS AND FLOWS IN THE BUSINESS AS A WHOLE. AND THE ONE THING ABOUT SPORTS WHICH OUR BUSINESS IS TRULY GROUNDED IN, IS THAT WHETHER TIMES ARE GOOD OR TIMES ARE BAD, WHETHER THERE IS ANGER, DANGER, WAR, ANYTHING HAPPENING, SPORTS WILL BE PLAYED. FOOTBALL WILL BE PLAYED IN THE FALL. BASKETBALL WILL BE PLAYED IN THE SPRING. VOLLEYBALL WILL BE PLAYED IN THE FALL. YOU'LL HAVE SOCCER AND YOU'LL HAVE BASEBALL. AND LIKE THERE IS NOT A PERSON OUT THERE THAT DOESN'T FIND SPORT AS A BIT OF A REPRIEVE. AND YOU'RE STILL GOING TO BE FIT AND YOU'LL STILL DO OTHER THINGS. NOW THERE'S MODIFICATIONS YOU MADE. AND ONE THING THAT IS CERTAIN IS THAT A RISING TIDE RAISES ALL SHIPS, BUT A LOWERING TIDE DOES THE EXACT SAME THING. AND SO BEING THE BEST AMONGST WHO YOU ARE DOING IT WITH. SO WE LOOK AT THIS CURRENT ATH-LEISURE TREND AND YOU KNOW OUR FIRST REACTION YES, KEEP GROWING. I LOVE EVERYBODY MAKING PANTS AND LEGGINGS AND THESE THINGS. AND WE'RE TRAINING THE CONSUMER OUT OF A PAIR OF $200 JEANS THAT WAS RIDICULOUS. BECAUSE IT IS REALLY NOT THAT PRACTICAL OF A PIECE OF APPAREL OR CLOTHING, INTO LEGGINGS. AND AGAIN, LEGGINGS ARE GREAT. PEOPLE LOOK GREAT IN LEGGINGS AND SHORTS AND ATHLETIC CLOTHES. IT IS PRACTICAL AND IT LOOKS GOOD AND YOU COULD SWEAT AND BE PHYSICAL AND DO ALL OF THOSE KIND OF THINGS.
WAPNER: WE'RE ONE MONTH INTO THIS QUARTER. TODAY WAS NOT A GOOD DAY ON WALL STREET FROM A RETAIL STANDPOINT. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT WHERE THE CONSUMER IS NOW? HOW SHOULD WE BE TAKING SOME OF THE NEWS TODAY FROM MACY'S AND SOME OF THESE OTHER DEPARTMENT STORES AND TRY AS INVESTORS THAT MAYBE IN THIS CROWD HERE TODAY FEEL ABOUT WHERE YOUR BRAND IS RIGHT NOW.
PLANK: WELL I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, TERRY LUNDGREN IS ONE OF THE BEST EXECUTIVES IN RETAIL. I THINK THAT MACY'S IS OBVIOUSLY A POWERHOUSE. AND SO THEY, WITHOUT QUESTION, THEY SET THE TONE IN A LOT OF RIGHTS. AND WHAT YOU ARE SEEING IS BASICALLY YOU ARE SEEING A LOT OF INVENTORY AND YOU ARE SEEING A LOT OF PEOPLE REACTING TO THE SECOND WARMEST SEPTEMBER AND PROBABLY ONE OF THE WARMEST OCTOBERS IN RECENT HISTORY. AND THAT WILL HAVE ITS EFFECT. FOR OUR BUSINESS, WE'VE LEARNED THESE LESSONS OVER 20 YEARS. AND I THINK IT IS EASY – IN 2008, 2009, WE COINED THIS PHRASE, WITH MICKEY DREXLER OF ALL PEOPLE.
WAPNER: RETAIL LEGEND IN HIS OWN RIGHT.
PLANK: A RETAIL LEGEND IN HIS OWN RIGHT. AND WE ARE WERE AT SOME RETAIL CONFERENCE TOGETHER, WE WERE ON A PANEL, AND THIS GUY WAS SPEAKING ABOUT THE ECONOMY AND HE WAS LIKE OH MY GOSH, THE ECONOMY IS THIS AND THIS IS SO DIFFICULT. IT WAS '08 AND '09, IT WAS TERRIBLE FOR EVERYONE. AND I JUST REMEMBER MICKEY SITTING THERE AND MICKEY IS NOT A QUIET MAN, AND HE IS SITTING AND HE IS MUMBLING IN HIS CHAIR NEXT TO ME AND HE'S GOING WHAT A LOSER. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS LOSER? LISTEN TO THIS LOSER TALK. THIS COMPLETE LOSER. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS LOSER. AND I'M SITTING THERE LIKE MICKEY, SHHH, DON'T SAY THAT TOO LOUD. AND FROM THAT, I ENDED UP COINING THE PHRASE NO LOSER TALK. BECAUSE THIS GUY WAS TALKING ABOUT THE GALACTICALLY OBVIOUS OF WHAT THE DIFFICULTY IS HAPPENING IN THE MARKET. AND SO WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IS THAT EVERYONE IS DEALING WITH A WARM FOURTH QUARTER. WHAT WE DID AS A COMPANY FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO, WE BEGAN TO CREATE THINGS LIKE INSTEAD OF JUST BIG, THICK HEAVY-WEIGHT FLEECE AND IF IT DIDN'T GET COLD YOU WERE OUT OF LUCK. WE BUILT THINGS LIKE – WE CALL THEM FIFTH QUARTER FLEECE. IT IS LIKE LIGHTER WEIGHT. AND PEOPLE STILL LIKE WEARING HOODIES WHEN IT'S IN OCTOBER OR NOVEMBER, BUT IT IS JUST SOMETHING THAT IS ACTUALLY WEARABLE AND IT IS A LITTLE MORE STYLISH AND NOT SO LITERAL TO THE DEFINITION. WE BEGIN TO BALANCE OUR BUSINESS WITH THINGS LIKE FOOTWEAR THAT IS NOT AS WEATHER DEPENDENT AT ALL. AND ALLOWING OURSELVES TO FRANKLY, LEVEL OUT A LITTLE BIT. AND SO WITH THAT, THIS PAST REPORTING QUARTER, WE JUST CELEBRATED OUR 22ndCONSECUTIVE QUARTER OF 20 PLUS PERCENT TOPLINE REVENUE GROWTH. THE GOOD NEWS FOR US IS THAT OUR GROWTH COMES FROM MANY DIFFERENT PLACES WHICH I THINK IS IMPORTANT, IS THAT BALANCE. MEN'S APPAREL, WOMEN'S APPAREL, FOOTWEAR, INTERNATIONAL, A DIRECT TO CONSUMER, E-COMMERCE OR RETAIL CHANNELS AND THEN OUR NEW CONNECTED FITNESS INITIATIVE.
WAPNER: WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT THE STOCK REACTED THE WAY IT DID WHEN YOU DELIVERED THE KIND OF NUMBERS AND RESULTS THAT YOU JUST SAID?
PLANK: NOTHING EVER SURPRISES ME ABOUT THE MARKET. THE IDEA OF INSIDER INFORMATION TO ME IS ALMOST LIKE LAUGHABLE. BECAUSE I COULDN'T PREDICT, BASED ON THE NUMBERS WE HAVE AND WHAT THE REACTION FROM THE STOCK IS, I CAN TELL YOU I GUARANTEE OR THINK IT IS GOING TO GO UP AND THE THING WILL GO DOWN. AND SOMETIMES IT WILL GO SIDEWAYS AND SOMETIMES IT GOES UP. ALL YOU COULD DO IS YOU CAN NEVER CONTROL THE STOCK PRICE. AND PEOPLE SAY THAT AND YOU LOOK, LIKE, YEAH YOU ARE AWARE OF IT. BUT HONESTLY, IS THAT YOU HAVE TO – MANY PEOPLE LIVE THEIR COMPANIES BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE – LIKE YOU ARE THINKING EXIT STRATEGY. I THINK IT IS ONE OF THE THINGS THEY POUND DOWN AT BUSINESS SCHOOL. WHAT IS YOUR EXIT, WHAT IS YOUR EXIT. THEY SAY THINGS LIKE THE IPO IS YOUR EXIT. AND IT IS ONE OF THE THINGS, THE LESSONS THAT I LEARNED, YOU KNOW THE IPO IS THE STARTING LINE. IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE A PUBLIC COMPANY BECAUSE YOU THINK THIS IS WHERE YOU CASH OUT, THAT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE. THE IPO IS WHERE YOU BEGIN. AND LOOK, FROM – SINCE WE IPOED, WE HAD OVER 2500% GROWTH COMPARED TO 65% GROWTH FOR THE S&P 500. SO I THINK OUR SHAREHOLDERS HAVE DONE VERY WELL. AND THAT LONG-TERM APPROACH IS SOMETHING THAT HAS WORKED VERY WELL FOR OUR COMPANY AS WELL.
WAPNER: YOU ARE IN THE MIDST OF A LITERAL TRANSFORMATION OF SORTS OF YOUR COMPANY. PEOPLE KNOW YOU AS A SPORTS AND ATHLETIC APPAREL COMPANY. YOU ARE BECOMING A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. JIM CRAMER, MY COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND, REFERS TO YOU AS A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY.
WAPNER: HOW, AS AN ENTREPRENEUR, DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT IS THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE A TRANSFORMATIVE MOVE FOR YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
PLANK: RIGHT. I MEAN, JIM IS RIGHT. WE ARE A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. BUT THE WAY I MANAGE THE COMPANY, I WOULD SAY IT IS VERY MUCH LIKE A TEAM. LIKE SALES AND MARKETING ARE LIKE OFFENSE. MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION LIKE DEFENSE. FINANCE AND I.T. LIKE SPECIAL TEAMS. BUT WE FIND AS WE'VE GROWN, WE'RE MUCH MORE LIKE A EUROPEAN FOOTBALL TEAM THAN AN AMERICAN FOOTBALL TEAM. MEANING EVERYBODY IS ON THE FIELD AT THE SAME TIME. THE COMPANIES THAT WIN ARE THE ONES THAT COMMUNICATE THE BEST. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THOSE TOOLS THAT I USE FOR COMMUNICATION IS THAT I STILL RUN THE COMPANY WITH – I MANAGE WITH THINGS LIKE I KEEP THESE WHITE BOARDS IN MY OFFICE. AND THERE ARE THREE PANELS ACROSS, THEY ARE FIVE PANELS DEEP, ORG CHART –
WAPNER: I HEAR YOU LOVE THE WHITE BOARDS.
PLANK: I DO. AND I WRITE THEMATIC THINGS ON THEM THAT JUST SORT OF INSPIRE ME OR THINGS FOR SALES MEETINGS. THEY SAY THINGS LIKE OVERPROMISE AND DELIVER. DICTATE THE TEMPO. WALK WITH A PURPOSE. DONE, DONE, DONE. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DONE, DONE AND, DONE, DONE, DONE FOR INSTANCE FOR YOUR TEAM. AND THE ONLY THING WRITTEN IN RED INK ON THOSE WHITE BOARDS QUITE SIMPLY SAYS, AS WE SIGN A LOT OF TEAMS. WE SIGN COOL ATHLETES, WE'RE GETTING INTO TECH, WE ARE DOING ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS. THE ONLY THING WRITTEN IN RED INK AT THE CENTER OF MY WHITE BOARD QUITE SIMPLY SAYS DON'T FORGET TO SELL SHIRTS AND SHOES. IN MY BUSINESS, IT IS EASY FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND WHAT MY SHIRTS AND SHOES ARE. BUT I CHALLENGE THE ENTREPRENEURS THAT ARE IN THE ROOM, DEFINE FOR YOURSELF, LIKE WHAT ARE YOUR SHIRTS AND SHOES. THINK ABOUT IT. WHEN I GOT STARTED, THE THING THAT ALLOWED UNDER ARMOUR TO BE SUCCESSFUL IS FOCUS. FOR THE FIRST FIVE YEARS, I MADE THE SAME T-SHIRT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. IT WAS THAT FOCUS. AND FRANKLY, IT WAS BECOMING FAMOUS FOR ONE THING. AND SO OFTEN I SEE ENTREPRENEURS GET CAUGHT UP AND KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES OR THEY ARE READING A REPORT ABOUT WHAT SOME OTHER COMPANY IS DOING. BUT FOR US IT WAS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO BECOME EXCELLENT AT MAKING THAT FIRST SHIRT THAT WAS JUST AVAILABLE FOR AN AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN A LACROSSE PLAYER LIKED IT AND A BASEBALL PLAYER LIKED IT, AND THE GIRLFRIEND OF THE LACROSSE PLAYER LIKED IT, AND THE OTHER GIRLS ON HER TEAM LIKED IT AND THE VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS LIKED IT. AND THE BRAND BEGAN TO GROW FROM THAT. THE SAME ITEM BASICALLY FINDING MULTIPLE USES AND WITHOUT HAVING TO TRY TO KEEP UP WITH ITSELF. LIKE OUR BRAND IS VERY MUCH THAT WAY. TECHNOLOGY, AND WHEN I THINK ABOUT – I CHALLENGE ANY BUSINESS OWNERS IN HERE, LIKE WHAT IS YOUR SHIRTS AND SHOES? THINK ABOUT IT. FOR US, AGAIN, IT IS EASY. BUT OUR JOB IS WELCOME TO THE BRAND. WE'RE GOING TO RUN EXCITING COMMERCIALS AND WE ARE GOING TO SHOW YOU POWERFUL ATHLETES AND WE ARE GOING TO BE A PART OF BIG EVENTS AND WE ARE GOING TO WOW YOU WITH TECHNOLOGY THAT HAS YOU SAY WOW, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHEN WE PUT YOU ON THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE AND YOU GO UP AND YOU DO THE LOOP AND YOU COME OFF AND YOU'RE EXCITED AND YOU'RE BREATHLESS AND GOING I LOVE THIS. AND THIS ISN'T JUST SOME MARKETING GIMMICK, BUT IT IS A FACT THAT WHEN YOU SEE AN UNDER ARMOUR PRODUCT YOUR FIRST REACTION SHOULDN'T BE IS THAT JUST AN UNDER ARMOUR SHIRT, BECAUSE I SEE THE LOGO? THE ANSWER SHOULD BE, IF IT IS AN UNDER ARMOUR SHIRT, WHAT DOES IT DO? WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL? WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? SO WHEN YOU GET OFF OF THAT ROLLER COASTER RIDE AND YOU FINISH IT, YOU KNOW, THE FIRST THING YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO IS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO RUN YOU THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. AND YOU BUY A PAIR OF SHIRTS AND SHOES. AND THAT IS REALLY WHERE TECH HAS TAKEN US RECENTLY BECAUSE I DON'T BELIEVE OUR INDUSTRY HAS KEPT UP WITH OTHER INDUSTRIES OF BEING AS INNOVATIVE AS FRANKLY WE SHOULD BE OBLIGATED BE.
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