WHEN: Today, Tuesday, May 30th
WHERE: CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report"
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Omega Advisors Chairman and CEO Leon Cooperman and CNBC's Scott Wapner on "Fast Money Halftime Report" (M-F, 12PM-1PM ET) today, Tuesday, May 30th. Following are links to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000622875, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000622711 and http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000622878.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
COOPERMAN ON THE CASE
IT'S VERY SIMPLE. MY LAWYERS TOLD ME THE PROBABILITY OF MY WINNING WOULD BE OVERWHELMINGLY HIGH. IF I DIDN'T WIN, IT WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MERITS OF THE CASE, IT WOULD HAVE TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT I'M A FORMER GOLDMAN PARTNER, I'M A HEDGE FUND MANAGER, I'M WEALTHY, AND THOSE ARE NOT FACTOIDS THAT IMPRESS JURIES. AND THAT THE COST OF THE TRIAL WOULD BE PROBABLY $15 TO $20 MILLION AND GO ON FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS. BECAUSE IF WE DIDN'T WIN, WE WOULD LIKELY SEEK APPEALS. BUT LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR, I ENTERED INTO WHAT IS CALLED A NO ADMIT, NO DENY SETTLEMENT, WHICH PROHIBITS ME FROM COMMENTING ON THE GOVERNMENT'S ALLEGATIONS, OR THE STRENGTH OF MY DEFENSES. I BELIEVE THE OUTCOME SPEAKS FOR ITSELF AND I'LL LEAVE IT AT THAT.
COOPERMAN ON LANGUAGE
IT'S INTERESTING IT'S ALMOST AS IF THEY ABANDONED THE AGREEMENT FROM DAY ONE. THE WORD THAT WAS LEFT OUT OF THAT PERSON'S COMMENT – I SAW IT IN THE NEWSPAPER JUST LIKE YOU SAW IT – WAS THE WORD ALLEGED. THEY ACCEPTED NO ADMIT, NO DENY. I'M NOT ADMITTING GUILT, I'M NOT DENYING GUILT. THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.
COOPERMAN ON BLEEDING ASSETS
WE RESPONDED TO THE SUBPOENA AND IT TOOK THEM ABOUT 18 MONTHS AFTER THE SUBPOENA RESPONSE TO MAKE THEIR FINAL CONCLUSION AND THEY HAD TO KNOW DURING THAT 18-MONTH PERIOD THAT BUSINESS WAS BLEEDING ASSETS. WE LOST $4 BILLION OF CLIENT ASSETS. I HAVE A TEAM OF 40 HARD WORKING COMPETENT PEOPLE WHO SAW THEIR EARNING OPPORTUNITY DRAMATICALLY REDUCED, UNFAIRLY.
COOPERMAN ON GOING TO COURT
IN NEGOTIATIONS, THEY SAID IF YOU WANT TO SETTLE THIS, IT WOULD BE A FIVE-YEAR BAR, WHICH SOMEONE AT THAT TIME I WAS 73, I'M NOW 74. A FIVE-YEAR BAR FOR SOMEBODY MY AGE EFFECTIVELY KNOCKS ME OUT OF THE BUSINESS. GIVE US 9 MILLION DOLLARS AND I FELT THE COMBINATION OF A FIVE-YEAR BAR AND GIVING THEM 9 MILLION DOLLARS WAS EFFECTIVELY ADMITTING I'M GUILTY. AND THAT'S WHY I SAID I WOULDN'T GIVE YOU A FIVE-SECOND BAR, AND I WOULDN'T GIVE YOU FIVE CENTS. I'LL SEE YOU IN COURT.
COOPERMAN ON HIS LEGACY BEING DESTROYED
I DON'T THINK SO. I DON'T THINK SO, BUT WHO KNOWS. I MEAN, I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT HOW IT ALL ENDED UP, BUT I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE ARC OF MY LIFE. I MEAN, A KID OUT OF THE SOUTH BRONX, I STARTED WITH NOTHING. FIRST GENERATION, MY FAMILY BORN IN AMERICA, FIRST GENERATION TO GET A COLLEGE DEGREE. STARTED MY CAREER IN WALL STREET WITH NOTHING. DONE VERY WELL. TAKING THE GIVING PLEDGE WITH BUFFETT. GIVING IT ALL BACK. I FEEL PRETTY GOOD. AND I THINK THE OUTCOME HERE OF NO ADMIT, NO DENY AND NO SUSPENSION IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL. SO, I GOT TO LET A LAWYER TELL YOU HOW GOOD IT WAS.
COOPERMAN ON HIS QUESTION FOR THE S.E.C.
THE BIGGEST QUESTION YOU SHOULD ASK AND GET THE S.E.C. TO SIT HERE AND ANSWER IT – I CAN'T ANSWER IT. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SEVEN MONTHS BETWEEN YOUR ORIGINAL ASK WHERE YOU SAID FIVE-YEAR BAR, EFFECTIVELY ADMIT YOU'RE GUILTY, GIVE US $9 MILLION TO NO ADMIT, NO DENY, GIVE US 4.9 MILLION AND NO BAN. WHAT DID THEY LEARN? NOW, I HAVE SOME THEORIES, WHICH I'M NOT AT LIBERTY TO DISCUSS.
COOPERMAN ON MARKET
THERE'S A BIG SWING IN EARNINGS BECAUSE DOES PRESIDENT TRUMP GET HIS PROGRAM THROUGH OR NOT? THAT IS WORTH $10 ON THE S&P. YOU KNOW, REPATRIATION OF $2 TRILLION OF EARNINGS, A CORPORATE TAX RATE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE HIGH TEENS, LOW 20S. THAT'S $10. SO, THE S&P NOT EARNING 132 NEXT YEAR, BUT EARNS 142, NO MATTER IF I PUT A 17 MULTIPLE ON 142, I THINK THAT IS LIKE 2430 AND WE ARE 2410 OR 15. SO IT IS REASONABLY FULLY VALUED BECAUSE WE ARE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO GET A TAX PACKAGE THIS YEAR.
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