WHEN: TODAY, THURSDAY, April 27, 2017
WHERE: CNBC'S BUSINESS DAY PROGRAMMING
Following are excerpts from CNBC's David Faber's interviews from 13D Monitor's Active-Passive Investor Summit. Faber spoke exclusively with by Starboard Value's CEO Jeff Smith, Corvex Management Founder Keith Meister and Trian Partners CIO Ed Garden. Following are links to video of the interviews: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000613860, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000613826, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000613807 and http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000613803.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
STARBOARD VALUE'S CEO JEFF SMITH:
Smith on Yahoo
This has been a long time coming but we are in a good position as it relates to Yahoo which will become Altaba, you know, we've worked really well with our good partners at Verizon, who are getting a good operating business and buying it at a good value. The management team is doing a good job working on the transition with Verizon but yes, sometime in June we are looking forward to a close where Altaba will be closer to a pure play company owning the Alibaba shares.
Smith on Marissa Meyer
Smith: Marissa's been great to work with. She's been really helpful in terms of getting the transaction done and working with our partners as it relates to Verizon. Her compensation package is based on her contract which was signed before I was a board member.
Faber: Would you have signed off on a deal like that?
Smith: It's tough to say.
Smith on Repatriation
Companies that have extra cash have a job as board members and capital allocators to decide what to do with that cash, whether it means to invest in their business, to make acquisitions or return that cash to shareholders. If there's more cash that they have available to them that's more flexible, then yes, there are more tools in the toolbox. That's only good for companies and for boards and investors, whether we use that as a tool or we have to push companies to do it, I don't know. It depends. You know, hopefully companies will do it on their own, but yes, it's additional flexibility.
CORVEX MANAGEMENT FOUNDER KEITH MEISTER:
Meister on the idea business
I think about the active investing business as the idea business. How can we share a good idea with a management team or a board and make our idea theirs, and let them go implement the idea. One of the tools that one can use to get a management team or board to implement an idea is public exposure, highlighting the idea, and getting other constituents to buy into it. So that's one variable. Does the public knowledge help or hurt? There's many situations where we work privately because it's more effective. I think the other challenge is if we're going to get public we're going to reduce our liquidity. And we tend to be in things to see them from end to end, from post to post. Do we get compensated for that? So does the tradeoff between reduce liquidity, less flexibility and the ability to drive outcomes, compensate us?
Meister on Pandora
The company did move the nomination date several times. It's now May 8th.. So shareholders—us included—have the right and the ability, all the rights of a shareholder to nominate directors and try to effect change up until May 8th. So my hope and my expectation is by moving that date, the board, management, the advisers can work constructively on all the various things you mentioned and other things, and not commenting on the validity of any of what you said, but we've always said, that we think great company, great product, real change is needed. I think they get that message. And my hope is stay tuned till May 8th, and we'll be able to make a more informed decision and the best chance of getting to a really good answer is letting everyone do it privately at this point.
Meister on Yum Brands
In the case of Yum, we had a world class management team, had a world class board, comprised of ex-CEOs and business leaders. So this concept that an active investor goes after bad companies, that's a mistake. We should go after good companies with good boards and good managements because we'll have a better chance of getting them to buy into our ideas and then get it done.
Meister on Williams
If you look at where the consideration of that deal is today, it's still 35 percent higher than where Williams trades stand alone. Plus there was a lot of industrial logic combining the companies. We were unable to get the deal done. In hindsight the business probably ran a little too tightly wound. I actually commend the new Williams board. I think they've taken a lot of the right steps. They've de-risked. They've slowed down some growth and Williams is a great company. It's a great asset. It's frustrating that we weren't able to get the full potential but I'm actually really proud of what we did at Williams. We helped them enter into a deal that we thought was going to add a lot of value. That deal couldn't close for a variety of reasons. And then we helped leave the board a lot stronger. I would say the day we left the Williams board it was one of the weakest boards in the energy space. I think today they have one of the strongest boards.
Meister on competitiveness
At what point is too much held by passive and the pendulum swings a little too far, and you may not have as much accountability for equity. Like if Blackstone owns a company, the board or the CEO has no confusion as to who they work for and what the goal is, is to drive value for the equity holdesr. As you go to more passive holders, other stakeholders' voices, I worry, could drown out equity and that would not be good for the competitiveness of our businesses.
TRIAN PARTNERS CIO ED GARDEN:
Garden on the transfer of wealth
Something big is happening in the public equity markets. And that is that owners are acting like owners. I think the biggest reason is the transfer of wealth that's happened from public shareowners to private equity over the last, say, 40 years. Public shareowners have watched as private equity has taken underperforming public companies, underperforming divisions of public companies, and made a fortune. And the question is why and how does that happen?
Garden on General Electric
Management understands that they need to execute. It's all about execution. I think it's the right initiative. Now they need to deliver. And 2017, David, is an important year for the company and for management. They feel the pressure. They know they need to deliver. They know that shareowners will probably be looking for significant change if they don't. And we are rooting for them.
Garden on Procter and Gamble
We've had constructive conversations with management. We've met with them a few times now. I would tell you there's a lot of common ground. I think we share the same vision of where the company needs to go. And the real question is how? How do you get there and how do you navigate those changes? And we're having constructive debate around those matters and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to work great together.
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