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WHEN: Today, Thursday, September 29th
WHERE: CNBC's "Closing Bell"
Following is the unofficial transcript of breaking news from CNBC's Becky Quick on CNBC's "Closing Bell" (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET) today, Thursday, September 29th. Following is a link to the story on CNBC.com: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/29/warren-buffett-denies-report-that-he-wants-major-changes-at-wells-fargo.html.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
KELLY EVANS: THANK YOU FROM WASHINGTON. WARREN BUFFETT WAS SPEAKING JUST MOMENTS AGO TO CNBC'S BECKY QUICK ABOUT THE COMPANY. BECKY JOINS US BY PHONE WITH THIS BREAKING NEWS.
BECKY QUICK: HI. THIS IS SOMETHING A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CLAMORING FOR HOPING TO GET WARREN BUFFETT'S TAKE ON WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING. HE HAS BEEN SILENT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE SCANDAL BREAKING.I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH HIM THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF SPECULATION ABOUT WHAT HE HAS AND HASN'T SAID TO THE BOARD MEMBERS ABOUT HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THIS. HE FINALLY IS CLARIFYING SOME OF THOSE THOUGHTS TODAY. THERE WAS AN IDEA OUT EARLIER TODAY THAT BUFFETT HAD SPOKEN TO THE BOARD OF WELLS FARGO AND EXPRESSED EXTREME DISPLEASURE. HE SAID THAT IS DEAD WRONG THE IDEA THAT HE HAS SPOKEN TO THE BOARD DIRECTLY AND SAYS THAT GOING TO THE BOARD WOULD IMPLY THAT HE HAS GONE AROUND STUMPF THE GUY WHO IS UNDER FIRE AND SAYS THAT IS JUST NOT THE CASE. STUMPF DID SAY IN HIS TESTIMONY TODAY THAT HE HAD SPOKEN WITH WARREN BUFFETT AND BUFFETT IS CONFIRMING THAT. HE SAID HE DID HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH STUMPF AND HE SAID WHEN HE WAS SPEAKING TO HIM HE WAS SPEAKING TO HIM AS THE CEO, THE IDEA THAT THIS WOULD GO TO BOARD. THERE WAS NO CONVERSATION HE SAID THAT THIS WOULD BE CONVEYED. NOTHING TO SUGGEST THAT THIS WOULD BE CONVEYED TO THE BOARD OR AROUND THIS. HE SAID WHEN HE FIRST SPOKE WITH STUMPF I BELIEVE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO ON A FRIDAY MORNING TWO WEEKS AGO TOMORROW HE DID IT AFTER HE WATCHED JOHN STUMPF PERFORMANCE ON THAT INTERVIEW WITH JIM CRAMER MAD MONEY'S JIM CRAMER WHEN HE SAT DOWN WITH THE CEO. WARREN WHEN AHEAD AND REACHED OUT AND HE SAID TO JOHN STUMPF THE FOLLOWING MORNING THAT THEY SPOKE FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES AND HE TOLD THEM THAT HE FELT THE PROBLEM WAS BIGGER THAN STUMPF THOUGHT AT THAT POINT. HE SAID THIS SHOULD NOT BE MEASURED BY THE $180 MILLION FINE THAT THAT WAS NOT A METRIC TO BE USED IN DETERMINING THE PUBLIC REACTION TO THIS AND THOUGHT THE PROBLEM WAS DEEPER THAN THAT. HE SAID STUMPF ESSENTIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT HE UNDER ESTIMATED AT FIRST HOW BIG THIS PROBLEM WAS BUT TOLD BUFFETT AT THAT POINT HE WASN'T UNDER ESTIMATING IT THEN. AGAIN THIS WOULD BE THE MORNING AFTER THE INTERVIEW WITH JIM CRAMER ON MAD MONEY. HE DID SAY THAT IN TALKING TO HIM HE DID TELL HIM THAT HE THOUGHT THE PROBLEM WAS BIGGER THAN THIS AND HE ALSO SAID HE DIDN'T THINK THAT THE INTERVIEW WITH JIM CRAMER WENT WELL ON SOME OF THESE ISSUES. A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS FLOATING AROUND AND OUT THERE THE IDEA THAT BUFFETT WOULD POTENTIALLY BUY MORE SHARES THAT HE IS STANDING BY THIS INVESTMENT IN WELLS FARGO. HE SAID FIRST OF ALL WE CAN'T BUY MORE SHARES THAT WOULD REQUIRE FEDERAL RESERVE APPROVAL BECAUSE OF COURSE BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY ALREADY OWNS MORE THAN 10 PERCENT OF THE COMPANY. THERE ARE LIMITS TO HOW MUCH ONE COMPANY CAN CONTROL AND WHAT ONE SHAREHOLDER CAN CONTROL. HE SAID THEY DID NOT BUY A SHARE THAT TOOK THEM OVER 10% BUT AS WELLS FARGO HAS BOUGHT BACK AND MADE MORE SHARE REPURCHASES THAT DID PUSH THEM JUST ABOVE THE 10% THRESHOLD ABOUT THREE MONTHS AGO AND HAD TO FILE WITH THE FEDERAL RESERVE JUST TO LET THEM KNOW ABOUT THAT. BUT AGAIN IT IS NOT BECAUSE BUFFETT OR BERKSHIRE WERE BUYING MORE SHARES BUT BECAUSE WELLS FARGO WAS BUYING BACK SHARES AND THAT INCREASED THEIR PERCENTAGE. IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT HE IS STANDING BY THIS INVESTMENT IN WELLS FARGO HE SAID I HAD NEVER TOLD ANYBODY WHETHER I WOULD STAY IN WELLS FARGO OR NOT OR ANY OTHER STOCK FOR THAT MATTER. SO AGAIN A LOT OF PEOPLE WAITING TO HEAR WHAT BUFFETT HAS THOUGHT ABOUT ANY OF THESE THINGS. HE SAID THAT HE IS NOT CONDONING ANY OF THIS BEHAVIOR AND OBVIOUSLY IT SOUNDS LIKE HE HAD GIVEN STUMPF SOME CRITICISM WHEN HE SPOKE WITH HIM. HE DID NOT GO TO THE BOARD IS NOT GOING AROUND STUMPF OR TRYING TO STIR THINGS UP AT THE BOARD LEVEL. THAT'S WHAT I KNOW FOR RIGHT NOW.
EVANS: BECKY, THANK YOU. TO THE POINT THAT YOU JUST MADE ABOUT HIS THOUGHTS HERE ON WELLS, I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GOT THIS RIGHT. SO BUFFETT SAID HE'S NEVER TOLD ANYBODY WHETHER HE'D STAY IN THE STOCK OR NOT. THAT SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY BLAND KIND OF STATEMENT. INTENTIONALLY SO, I GUESS.
QUICK: YEAH, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT IS, KELLY. HE SAYS LOOK, HE DOESN'T TELL PEOPLE WHAT HE IS DOING WITH INVESTMENTS OR NOT. THAT HE IS NEVER – AND AGAIN, THIS IS BECAUSE THERE WAS THIS IDEA OUT THERE THAT HE IS STANDING BY HIS STOCK INVESTMENT IN IT. AND THAT THAT HAD BEEN CONVEYED TO THE BOARD OR TO MANAGEMENT. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. HE SAYS HE HAS NEVER TOLD ANYBODY WHETHER OR NOT HE'D STAY IN WELLS FARGO OR ANY OTHER STOCK FOR THAT MATTER. OBVIOUSLY, IT DOESN'T BEHOOVE HIM TO GO AROUND TELLING PEOPLE WHAT HE WOULD BE INVESTING IN OR WHAT HE WOULDN'T BE. SO, HE IS NEITHER CONFIRMING NOR DENYING, BUT HE IS SAYING HE HAS NEVER TOLD ANYBODY ANY OF THESE ISSUES.
STEPHANIE LINK: BECKY, HI. IT'S STEPHANIE. I HAVE A QUESTION WITH REGARDS TO JUST IF HE WANTED TO BUY MORE STOCK. DOESN'T HE ACTUALLY HAVE TO GO TO THE REGULATORS AND GET APPROVAL?
QUICK: YES, THAT WAS HIS POINT.
LINK: SO THIS ALL MIGHT KIND OF BE MOOT, RIGHT? AT THIS POINT.
QUICK: RIGHT. THAT WAS HIS POINT. HE SAYS WE CAN'T BUY MORE SHARES THAT WOULD REQUIRE FEDERAL RESERVE APPROVAL. THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUSHED ABOVE 10%, WHICH IS MORE THAN YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HOLD, BUT IT WASN'T BECAUSE OF PURCHASES THEY WERE MAKING. IT WAS BECAUSE WELLS FARGO WAS BUYING BACK SHARES, WHICH THEREFORE INCREASES THE OWNERSHIP STAKE THAT BERKSHIRE HELD.
EVANS: RIGHT. BECKY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CALLING US.
QUICK: THANKS, GUYS.
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