Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera, Co-Anchors of CNBC's "Power Lunch," Interview Power Players Live from The Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC (Transcript Included)


Date: April 18, 2007
Network: CNBC
Program: "Power Lunch"
Time: 12:00PM ET

The following are select quotes from the interviews with Steve Rattner, managing principal of private-equity firm Quadrangle Group; Mort Zuckerman, Boston Properties Chairman/Founder and U.S. News & World Report Publisher; and Michael Eisner, Tornante Company Founder, former Walt Disney Chairman and CEO and host of CNBC's "Conversations with Michael Eisner";

All references must be sourced to CNBC's "Power Lunch."

In exclusive interviews with co-anchors Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera, the billionaires (and near billionaires) talk about the state of private equity, the glut of hedge funds, hedge fund regulations and Keeping America Great.

Steve Rattner:

"There's no question that the credit environment we're in now is unprecedented. Not just the level of interest rates, but the amount of credit. When you pick up the paper and read about a 25 billion dollar deal one day and a 40 billion dollar deal the next, this couldn't have happened a year or two ago. We're living in a state of worldwide liquidity glut or surplus and that's not finding its way though these kind of loans."

"A number of us thought we were to the end of the liquidity glut, but hasn't proven true, but it will end. We are in a credit bubble. Credit is an overvalued commodity at the moment and lenders are not getting compensated relative to the risk they're taking and at some point that will change. And right now they are at historic lows. When it changes we'll get back to some kind of -- Private equity is an asset class around for a long time, but it will come and go... Its getting probably an unfortunate amount of attention at the moment. But that too will pass."

"I think the trust which controls those shares and The New York Times has been clear. Changing the structure of the shares of the New York Times is not on the table. It's been there for the beginning. It exists in many companies including companies right now going public with two classes of stocks so that's not on the table. Certainly everybody wants to improve the situation and wants the stock to go off and do whenever they can to make it go up and they ship two classes of stock."

Mort Zuckerman:

"If they [Jack Welch and Sam Zell] buy at the right terms and right race is a business that can work. A lot of those businesses did not have good business leadership. These guys are as good as they get. If you said of the right business plan you can maximize good journalism. It will be easy because the business model that has particularly been the case for you rely on a circulation and advertising. That model is no longer sufficient to support the kind of journalism we once had. You have to develop your website, develop the advertising of the website and have an understanding that a good...both the magazine and newspaper are coming to the newspaper rather than the other way around. Yet to give journalists who are accustomed to writing to three times a day as I update the website."

"This is without question the best period I have known for commerical real estate. At least in the markets we are in. NYC is the absolute will model for the way we think real-estate ought to be conducted. Boston is strong, Cambridge, Washington, San Francisco, even the markets we're in. New York is more than strong. First time in my life I've had a large block and a city from 68 million feet without a single vacant square foot. With a corporate philosophy of going into the markets where supply is constrained so when you get an increase in demand, at rents go up dramatically. That is exactly what has happened."

Michael Eisner

"At Disney we never could do the kind of material that I can now do because nobody can tell you that I can't do it. So I think the solution is to get the public in an emotional story-driven way behind goal and abolition on handguns and automatic weapons becasue politicians are almost co-conspirators in this bloodshed. They are chickens."

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