CNBC News Releases

"Squawk Box" Speaks with GE Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt (Transcript Included)

Jennifer Dauble
Squawk Box

WHEN: Wednesday, December 12th at 7:30AM ET
WHERE: "Squawk Box"

The following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with GE Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt on CNBC's "Squawk Box". All references must be sourced to CNBC.

CNBC's Joe Kernen and Carl Quintanilla speak with Immelt about a broad range of topics including healthcare and the future of NBC Universal.

HEALTHCARE:

KERNEN: JEFF, HEALTH CARE IS BECOMING -- OBVIOUSLY IT'S A GREAT PLACE TO GO IN TERMS OF DEMOGRAPHICS AND EVERYTHING ELSE. IS GE BIG ENOUGH NOW? IS THERE A TRANSFORMATIONAL DEAL THAT WOULD MAKE SENSE IN HEALTH CARE FOR GENERAL ELECTRIC THAT YOU'RE CONSIDERING AND YOU'D BE WILLING TO TELL US ABOUT RIGHT NOW?

IMMELT: YOU KNOW, JOE, I DIVIDE HEALTH CARE INTO DIAGNOSTICS AND THERAPEUTICS. I REALLY DON'T SEE THE COMPANY GETTING INTO THERAPEUTICS.I THINK THAT'S A DIFFERENT BUSINESS MODEL, IT'S DIFFERENT THAN WHAT PEOPLE DO. I THINK DIAGNOSTICS, YOU KNOW, THAT IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE A WIDE-OPEN RUNNING FIELD. I WOULD BE DISAPPOINTED IF THE BUSINESS WASN'T TWICE THE SIZE IT IS TODAY IN THREE, FOUR, FIVE YEARS. WE CAN DO THAT ORGANICALLY, MAYBE INORGANICALLY IN THIS CASALLY.AT SOME POINT IN HEALTH CARE A BIG MERGER ALONG THE LINES OF NBCU VIVINDI, THAT JUST TRANSFORMING THE BUSINESS. AND HEALTH CARE, LIKE ENTERTAINMENT, OFFERS POTENTIALLY SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN OUR FUTURE.I THINK WE'VE GOT TO BE OPEN TO THAT JUST BECAUSE IT'S AN INDUSTRY THAT CHANGES SO QUICKLY, HAS SO MANY NICHES, THETECHNOLOGY IS FLUID AND WE'RE GOOD AT IT.THERE MAY BE A TRANSFORMATIVE MOVE IN THE FUTURE.

KERNEN: IS THERE A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WITH A PLAN TO ANSWER SOME OF OUR HEALTH CARE PROBLEMSTHAT MAKES SENSE TO YOU, AND DO THEY -- DO THEY CALL YOU AS THE HEAD OF GE AND FIGURE OUT WHAT MAKES SENSE FOR CORPORATE AMERICA WITH HEALTH CARE?

IMMELT: WE'VE SPOKEN, JOE, TO THE CAMPAIGNS OF ALMOST ALL OF THE CANDIDATES.I THINK THERE'S PIECES OF GOOD IDEAS.I THINK GOVERNOR ROMNEY'S PLAN IN MASSACHUSETTS HAS PIECES OF AGOOD PLAN.I WOULD LIKE TO SEE LET'S GET STARTED ON FIXING THE SYSTEM.THERE'S PROBABLY NO COMPREHENSIVE PLAN THAT CAN BE PUT IN PLACE THAT'S POLITICALLY ACCEPTABLE, BUT THINGS LIKE PAYING FOR THE UNINSURED, MAKINGQUALITY TRANSPARENT, HAVING PATIENTS PAY FOR QUALITY, DRIVING INFORMATION SYSTEMS INTOHEALTH CARE, THERE'S FOUR CONSTRUCTIVE AND POSITIVE THAT IF THE POLITICIANS WOULD GET IT ON THE, THE SYSTEM WOULD GET BETTER. I'D LIKE TO SEE THAT GET STARTED.

TOM: JEFF, DOESN'T GE HAVE A CONTRACT WITH THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO BEGIN TO HAVE THIS UNIVERSAL INFORMATION DATABASE FOR HEALTH CARE?

IMMELT: WE WERE ONE OF FIVE COMPANY THAT IS STARTED WITH THE NHS IN THE UK ABOUT THREE OR FOUR YEARS AGO. IT'S BEEN VERY TOUGH. IT SHOWS HOW DIFFICULT IT IS, BECAUSE IF YOU TRY TO DO IT WITHA COUNTRY THE SIZE OF THE UK AND IT'S HAD DIFFICULTIES, IT'S A --IT'S A BIGGER CHALLENGE, I THINK, FOR THE UNITED STATES. THAT'S THE DIRECTION IT'S GOT TO GO, TOM. SINGAPORE IS EMBARKING ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT.THE COUNTRY OF QATAR IS WORKING ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THEN THERE'S CITIES INSIDE THE UNITED STATES LIKE SALT LAKE CITY AND OTHERS THAT ARE TRYING TO PULL TOGETHER A UNIVERSAL INFORMATION SYSTEM. THAT ULTIMATELY IS ONE OF THE REAL ANSWERS FOR THE BROADER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

NBC UNIVERSAL

KERNEN: YOU KNOW IT'S COMING, JEFF.I HAVE A NEW WAY OF ASKING THIS QUESTION.I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT LONG AND HARD, SO CAN HE JUST GO WITH IT?LET ME GO WITH. RE THE WRITERS' STRIKE. YOU RUN THIS MASSIVE ENTERPRISE.YOU'RE MAKING POWER TURBINES AND JET ENGINES, LOCOMOTIVES, A MYRIAD OF THESE INCREDIBLE THINGS, YET YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE WHIMS AND WISHES OF THIS FLAKEY HOLLYWOOD WRITERS. DO YOU WANT TO CHUCK IT?

IMMELT: WE HAVE LOTS OF UNIONS INSIDETHE COMPANY AND NOT JUST THE WRITERS.

KERNEN: HOW ABOUT THESE HOLLYWOOD WRITERS?

IMMELT: NBC UNIVERSAL IN IT'S WORST YEAR HAD 18% OPERATING PROFIT MARGINS, AND PARTICIPATES IN A BIG GLOBAL MARKET THAT HAS GOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH.SO, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, JOE, YOU ASKED ME THE QUESTION EARLIER ON SOME OF THE PARTS VIS-A-VIS FINANCIALS.ANY TEAM YOU DO PARTS ANALYSIS WITH GE, THE COMPANY IS WORTH MORE WITH NBC AS PART OF IT THAN IT WOULD BE WITHOUT NBC.

KERNEN: HOW ABOUT THIS.THE TV NETWORK -- NOT CABLE AND OTHER ASSETS INNBC UNIVERSAL, BUT A TV NETWORK, DO YOU STILL CONSIDER THAT TO BE A GOOD BUSINESS AND FOR HOW MUCH LONGER?

IMMELT: THE TV NETWORK BUSINESS MODEL, JOE, HAS TO CHANGE AND WILL CHANGE.WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THAT IN LOTS OF OUR BUSINESSES.WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THAT IN EVERYONE OF OUR BUSINESSES.WE'VE GONE THROUGH BUSINESS MODEL CHANGE.ANYONE OUT THERE THAT THINKS THETV NETWORK IS GOING TO BERUN THE SAME WAY TWO YEARS FROM NOW IS CRAZY.THE TV NETWORK BUSINESS IS GOINGTO CHANGE.THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS GE IS BETTER POSITIONED TO WIN THROUGHTHESE CHANGES THAN ANY COMPETITORS.I LOOK AT NBC UNIVERSAL AS A GOOD WAY TO GROW 10% TO 15% NEXTYEAR AND GOOD RETURNS.I THINK THIS IS THE WRONG TIME TO THINK ABOUT EXITING. WE HAVE GOOD DAYS AHEAD OF US.



About CNBC:
CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information to more than 340 million homes worldwide, including more than 95 million households in the United States and Canada. The network's Business Day programming (weekdays from 5:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. ET) is produced at CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and also includes reports from CNBC news bureaus worldwide. Additionally, CNBC viewers can manage their individual investment portfolios and gain additional in-depth information from on-air reports by accessing http://www.cnbc.com.

Members of the media can receive more information about CNBC and its programming on the NBC Universal Media Village Web site at http://nbcumv.com/cnbc/.