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tv   Squawk Alley  CNBC  December 7, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm EST

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stock, both "a" and "c" today. they made the "c" class, which doesn't get votes, their main shares. they're both up today. when i asked plank about the decline in the stock price, more than 25% so far this year, he said, look, we're telling a long-term story. and if you actually do zoom out on the price of under armour, it has been quite strong. a moonshot, really, over the last ten years. so this year, underperforming along with nike, which is down 20%. and we'll be watching lululemon, reporting earnings after the closing bell today. send it to you, carl, for "squawk alley." >> sara, thanks so much. it is 10:00 a.m. at at&t headquarters in dallas, 11:00 a.m. on wall street, and "squawk alley" is live. ♪
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♪ good wednesday morning. welcome to "squawk alley." carl quintanilla nia with jon fortt and kayla tausche at post 9. joining us from henry blodgett and jason calacanis. good morning, guys. we've got breaking news this morning. we've got top executives from at&t and time warner testifying on capitol hill today before the senate judiciary antitrust committee. we're going to monitor that and definitely keep you up to speed. in the meantime, "time" magazine naming donald trump the 2016 person of the year. the president-elect appeared on the "today" show this morning, talked about everything from his upcoming cabinet picks to his relationship with business in the u.s. >> my trade policies are going to be terrific. and by the way, we're lowering taxes in this country. we're getting rid of 90%, maybe 85% of the regulations which are stifling business.
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boeing is going to be a tremendous beneficiary of that and maybe even mostly regulations. i mean, people are more happy about the regulations, even though we're massively cutting taxes for business. >> all morning long we've been talking to ceos on this show and others, sharing their outlook for business under trump. earlier this morning we heard from cisco's chuck robbins talking with our friends on "squawk box." take a listen. >> regardless of your political beliefs through the election cycle, the democratic process is complete and we have a president-elect and his name's donald trump. and he's pro business. he is everything that he's talking about is about trying to drive the u.s. economy. i think he's also balanced understating that in order for us to have a strong u.s. economy, we have to have a strong global economy. >> henry, you have your ear to the ground on this, too, after a great admission conference this week. how are executives adapting to what is obviously a much different, new world? >> well, i'll say. i think that relatively quickly
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executives are going to adapt by not taking seriously everything they hear all day. and that's fine. trump has always spoken his mind right at the top, and i think we're all quickly getting used to the idea that he's going to continue to do that. he's going to say a lot of stuff from his view. hey, he's negotiating, he's just highlighting issues. you kind of have to roll with it. you saw with boeing stock yesterday, after an unprecedented shot at the company has now described as negotiating, it dipped, but it came back. and so, i think the market and executives are going to get used to this over time. and the market would tell you that, if fact, most people believe that what trump is doing is going to end up being good for the economy. >> and we saw sprint shares go the other way at the same time because it is majority owned by softbank, who, of course, announced $50 billion investment into the united states, 50,000 jobs. but jason, interestingly, chuck robbins of cisco also said this morning if they brought their $60 billion back into the u.s., they'd probably put it towards
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dividends, buybacks and mergers. how do you get that money to go toward the intended purpose of creating jobs and building out a business? >> yeah, i have a very simple idea. you know, trump obviously likes to negotiate, he likes to bully you, then bring you to the lobby, take a selfie, and then have some victory lap with you. he's going to be able to use the repatriation of this cash overseas as a tool, i believe. so, if he said to apple, which obviously has the most money overseas, hey, if you want this money to come back, we'll give you tax amnesty, we'll give you 100% of it back, but you've got to put one-third of it towards factories like elon musk is building with the gigafactory, and maybe even raise wages. so, trump wants to be a hero to the people, and he's got a little bit of negotiating room with that repatriation of taxes. i can see him using it as, you know, a real big carrot and stick to companies, and just on a case-by-case basis, because he seems to like to work on a case-by-case basis with these companies. i don't know how that scales, but it could be a potential tool
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for him. >> yeah, that is a question, henry, how it scales over time. i wonder how much of this is optics coming in, that the president-elect is taking this issue seriously and getting going right off the bat. but how much of this do you think he can continue maybe with the repatriation issues? how far can he push it before you start messing with the whole idea of free markets, if you start dictating too much exactly what companies end up doing with repatriated cash, you're starting to dictate how business was run based on something other than what customers want and what investors believe and want to see grow the company. >> no, that's exactly right. i would say that donald trump is very good at optics, and the optics so far, with the carrier deal, for example, seemed to be very good for him. people seemed to cheer that. he's paying attention. one thing that chuck robbins said yesterday that was very interesting at our conference is, you know, people are aghast that these ceos are meeting with trump and he's having meetings with folks from japan and
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everything else. he said, this is the only country in the world, the united states, where i'm not meeting with the heads of state continuously as a huge global business leader. and so, it was certainly interesting perspective to hear that. jon, i think to your point, the key for all of us who are trying to do business is trying to figure out what is going to be consistent about this. and ultimately, you want to have very consistent policies that everybody can work with so you don't have to spend too much time worrying that the fist from the sky is going to suddenly hit you next. that will keep people very cautious and worried. so, once we get past the rhetoric here and the opening salbos, everyone will be looking to see what is actually the policy moving forward. >> good point. i noticed meg whitman is not going to this meeting of tech leaders, so we'll see if there are other ceos who end up truly getting iced out. but that's maybe a discussion for another day. also getting word that foxconn, the manufacturer of apple's iphones, ipads and other
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products, is in talks to expand into the u.s. no word on the size and scope of the investment or if it has anything to do with president-elect trump's push to bring manufacturing back to the states. in his interview with "time," though, he said "i said to tim cook it's my ambition to get apple to build a great plant, your biggest and your best, even if it's only a foot by a foot bigger than someplace in china." we should note, apple is just one of foxconn's many customers. jason, what do you make of that? does that lend even more credence to his apparent commitment to bring manufacturing home? >> yeah. i mean, listen, manufacturing jobs are going to go to robots is the sort of belief that most smart people have. that being said, the most advanced factory in the world is the gigafactory right now, and tesla -- i actually visited it, and it's just extraordinary. there's a lot of jobs being created by tesla and solar city. so, i think trump should be focusing on that company of, hey, here's the model for manufacturing locally. apple's going to be the big test case, because apple under steve
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jobs said listen, these jobs are never coming back. can these jobs come back? it's a big question. and you know -- >> right. >> -- i'm not sure tim cook is going to make the pilgrimage to trump tower and, you know, beg trump for validation. if he doesn't, you know, i'm not sure what that means for shareholders of apple, which feels like a little bit of a troubled company right now. so, that's probably the most at-risk company i can think of in technology right now. >> yeah, henry, there is a question of whether skilled labor existed to staff a factory like that that apple would potentially build here, but i'm just thinking back to a couple years ago. this high-profile fight between the states, all of these rival states trying to outbid each other for that gigafactory that ended up landing in nevada. if you liked that fight, you're probably going to love whatever happens between the states to get an even bigger factory. what sort of incentives would a state have to think about putting forward for something like that to land there? >> well, there are a lot of incentives. and focusing on incentives is
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good. lots of things you can do with taxes and the money that flows in with the jobs is obviously great for the states. and i think having the administration focus on that, on creating the incentive to actually build factories here or create other jobs, because ultimately, there's nothing special about manufacturing, other than historically it has paid better than some of our service jobs. but another option is making our service jobs pay better, rather than focusing just on manufacturing. but, so, creating incentives is one thing. the other thing that president-elect trump is doing now, though, is threatening tariffs for any companies that want to manufacture globally. and i think what has to happen behind the scenes here is that the president-elect has to realize, apple is a global company competing on a global stage. if the company is suddenly forced to move all of its production back to the united states, you're going to cripple one of the united states' best global companies on a global stage because samsung, for
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example, won't be required to do that. >> wait a second. and before we get too deep into that, facts are so important here. there are more than 50,000 people at a plant the size of a city that assemble iphones. you can't move that to the u.s. it's low-cost labor. it's not the kind of work that workers in the u.s. do or can do. the economics just don't work. and even if they somehow did, if you get tons of robots involved, the skilled labor that's needed to run a plant like that does not exist on u.s. soil. so, for the president-elect to say that is one thing, but it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. it's a completely invalid statement, and i think it's important to look into that fact before -- >> i don't know if that's true, john. >> it is. i've talked to tim cook about this at length. >> have you been to the gigafactory? i think that's apple's position, is that you can't move to here, and yes, it would be hard to move here, but if they put a $50 tariff on every iphone coming from china and you essentially gave a 50% discount to every one
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made here, i'm interested to see what would happen. it could be a disaster. and that's i think the danger of trump. it's all fun right now to have everybody going to trump tower. it's great theater. it's amazing television to watch him have massa come to the lobby and say they're going to create 50,000 jobs. what if trump, who is answerable to no one, puts a $50 tariff on iphones coming from china? >> what happens when you try to create manufacturing scenarios that make no sense is what we saw with flextronics trying to build motorola's phones just back in 2014. the thing shut down in ft. worth very quickly. hopes were dashed. american workers who were told they would have these jobs ended up not having these jobs. you can't just sort off a wing and a prayer make up things around hardware manufacturing and expect it to work. you can't. >> you can't. and i think it's important to remember on the point of manufacturing versus servicing jobs, the manufacturing jobs used to pay terrible wages and had terrible conditions.
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and over time, starting with ford, companies started raising wages. obviously, the unions came in and that helped a lot, but that's what made manufacturing jobs good. we actually have a low unemployment rate in the united states right now. and the problem is that a lot of those jobs are seriously low wage. it doesn't have to be that way. and in fact, we're starting to see minimum wages rise. it's too bad it happens through legislation. it'd be great if companies just volunteered to pay their folks more. >> exactly. >> but actually, that is working and that's getting the money back into the economy and helping the economy overall. so, that's what we really need to focus on. it's not manufacturing per se. >> yeah, and it does sound also, if you listen to the speaker, at least, speaker ryan, i think there is some hope amongst some that there's more carrot than stick, especially when it comes to corporate tax rates coming down, and that might solve more ills than a would-be tariff. guys, let's just do one more thing here, keeping our eye on capitol hill. at&t's chairman and ceo randall stephenson speaking, along with
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time warner's ceo, billionaire investor mark cuban is there, all testifying in what could be the first major m&a deal under a president trump. our eamon javers caught up with stephenson before he entered the chamber. >> no, i have not had direct contact with the trump administration. >> reporter: what do you think this political moment means for your merger? this is a huge deal. it's going to attract lots of attention. obviously, we've seen donald trump tweeting his criticisms of individual companies. >> actually, we're looking forward to telling the story about the consumer benefits of this thing, putting these two companies together, the innovation that will come from that. so, we think it's a really good story. actually, we're anxious to get in front of the department of justice and begin to talk about the facts of the deal. >> henry, of course, that comes after you spoke to stephenson and buickus yesterday and some fascinating comments about the deal, the first amendment and more. >> absolutely. and i have to say, in our interview yesterday, randall stephenson was terrific. that's the first time i've interviewed him one on one. he is very persuasive, has a great vision for the future.
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and having listened to mark cuban right before we went on air, he has nailed it. this concern about this particular merger, at&t and time warner, to me it is, you're going back to the '90s power structure and even the middle '90s before the end. the biggest, most powerful companies right now are google, facebook, apple. we are focused, if we pay too much attention to this on the last war, and this merger should sail through. and in terms of just quietly what folks are saying, ultimately, that's what they think will happen. >> jason, do you agree? is it a done deal in your mind? >> yeah. i don't see why anybody would block this deal. and i think, like henry says, the more powerful companies and the more interesting ones are going to be amazon, which could bundle with amazon prime all kinds of television stations and have all kinds of other billing-type antitrust issues, so i don't see it as an issue. >> well that was easy! >> the other issue is, when --
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well, the edge is really m&a in general. so, is trump going to be pro m&a or anti m&a? and there are two types of m&a. one is, you know, is it efficient and are we going to get rid of jobs and we're going to have savings, you know, when telecom companies merge? and then there are other ones that are growth m&a. when google buys youtube, they add thousands of employees. so i'm interested in trump's position on the mi&a situations where jobs go away versus where they grow. again, nobody knows what trump's going to do. the guy's a complete loose cannon, he answers to nobody, and i think this is what the american people wanted. they wanted to clean house. and you know what, it's going to be an interesting experiment. he's going to be "time's" man of the year for the next four years. get used to it. >> i think "the national journal" called it a post ideological presidency, henry. it's going to be interesting. on the one hand, you wouldn't be surprised to see, for instance,
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cipheous restrictions on chinese money, but masa-san tells you at trump tower the door is open to some business. >> to jason's point, it is an experiment. and all i can say is as an executive and a citizen of this country, i hope trump continues to surprise people positively. he certainly has from the beginning. did a lot better than people expected. now he's going to be our president, and i hope that he turns out to be a great president. >> henry blodget, jason -- >> he's going to be an amazing president and he loves business -- >> terrific or horrible, one or the other! >> henry blodget, jason calacanis, thank you for joining us. as we go to break, live pictures of capitol hill this morning. you can see the senate antitrust committee out of the judiciary talking to executives from at&t and time warner, who are making their case for an $85 million merger. we're going to monitor that and bring it to you.
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narrowest range for the dow in over two years. we're up only 26 points. we're back in a moment. [engine revving] ♪ ♪ is it a force of nature? or a sales event? the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event.
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generosity is its oyou can handle being a mom for half an hour. i'm in all the way. is that understood? i don't know what she's up to, but it's not good. can't the world be my noodles and butter? get your mind out of the gutter. mornings are for coffee and contemplation. that was a really profound observation. you got a mean case of the detox blues. don't start a war you know you're going to lose. finally you can now find all of netflix in the same place as all your other entertainment. on xfinity x1. david faber rejoins us at post 9 this morning. got some news, i believe it's on abbott. >> yes, a follow-up here, m&a news. for some time we've anticipated this. this morning in delaware court, abbott filing to be able to terminate its deal to acquire alere. remember that deal done quite some time ago, actually, prior
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to abbott's deal to acquire st. jude. and the two parties have been fighting for some time over whether or not things at alere that had not been anticipated were, in fact, going to represent a material adverse effect to the merger agreement. now it's going to be up to a delaware court to decide, in fact, whether that is the case. shares of alere were halted. they may have reopened. they're down, but not sharply. why? because the stock has been trading far below the original price of the deal, an expectation that either they would get to delaware court and have a judge decide, or perhaps they would have reached some sort of agreement under which abbott would have paid a lower price than originally anticipated. in a press release just out, abbott does say that based on the substantial loss of alere's value following the merger agreement in the ten months following it, alere suffered a series of damaging business developments, including an
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elimination of building permits of an alere division. they go on to say therefore, alere is not the company abbott bought ten months ago and has an adverse effect. the question is whether or not delaware court, which typically frowns on these things unless there is significant evidence, will respond to the actual lawsuit. again, not unanticipated by many, hence you see not much of a reaction there. >> and normally when you see these types of situations go to the court level, they don't end quickly. how long are the parties anticipating any sort of opinion to come down on this? >> sometimes delaware can act fairly quickly, but you're right, it's going to take little time. i don't have an exact, precise sense on the timeline, kayla, so i wouldn't want to share it, not that, again, they haven't been anticipating this is where they would end pup. >> right. >> there was an attempt at mediation that didn't go anywhere. there's been a lot of back-and-forth. you'll recall, alere sued abbott first a time back. abbott has been arguing they didn't have access to all the
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information they wanted from the company. and again, not an unanticipated end, but this will conclude with a decision by the delaware court, and that will be an interesting news day. >> thanks for bringing it to us, david. david faber. when we come back, the latest from the at&t and time warner hearing on capitol hill. plus, a look at what fedex calls the matrix as it gets ready for the holiday shipping rush. dow's up 23.
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if fedex delivers a gift to your door in the next few weeks, there's a good chance it will have been through their hub in memphis. during peak season, this massive facility handles nearly 2 million packages a day. morgan brennan joins us now with a look inside how the company gets it done. morgan. >> reporter: hey, jon. that's right. i'm standing inside the control tower which oversees all of the operations behind me on the grounds here at this 880-acre world hub complex. so, we were here overnight on
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one of the four busiest days expected by fedex this holiday season. and let me tell you, it was absolutely humming. this looks like a small city that sprung to life after dark. 160 planes coming through, an estimated 2 million packages sorted along 42 miles of high-tech conveyor belts in what has come to be known as the matrix. this world hub which handles express packages is one key piece of a broader network that includes 30 new additional planes this year, $2 billion in ground segment investments and an extra 55,000 seasonal workers. so that as the company expects to deliver more than 355 million packages between thanksgiving and christmas eve, or based on their official forecast, 10% more than last year, and leading up to christmas, this facility will be running 24/7 with longer sort times overnight, even more planes coming through, as last-minute, online shopping spikes. but the big question, will all of this be enough to get
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packages delivered on time and delivered without costs climbing? now, that's been an issue we've seen play out at both fedex and rival u.p.s. in recent years, including in 2015 when some delivery snags for fedex specifically pushed up costs in the ground segment in q-4. now, the other thing to watch, whether fedex can continue to take market share from u.p.s. that's something analysts say has happened most notably in the ground segment. so as this peak shipping season plays out, wall street is betting on success. if you take a look at shares of both companies, fedex and u.p.s., they have absolutely soared in recent months. they are trading near all-time highs, and they're up double-digit percentages apiece for the year. guys? >> morgan brennan in memphis, tennessee. thanks, morgan. and a programming note. cnbc will be sitting down with fedex chairman and ceo fred smith. that happens friday in washington. we'll get his thoughts on american leadership in the global economy, 10:00 a.m. eastern on "squawk on the street." when we come back, more from president-elect trump's wide-ranging interview with the "today" show this morning.
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and later on, walt mossberg weighs in on reports of exploding iphones and whether foxconn will expand in the u.s. plus, the latest out of capitol hill as the chief executives of at&t and time warner testify on that $85 billion merger. "squawk alley" will be right back. what's the value of capital? what's critical thinking like? a basketball costs $14. what's team spirit worth? (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods? the value of capital is to create, not just wealth, but things that matter. morgan stanley
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good morning, everyone. i'm sue herera. here is your "cnbc news update" at this hour.
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defense secretary ash carter holding a news conference with his japanese counterpart in tokyo, discussing the strengthening of ties between the two countries. >> the united states has important interests in this region, and therefore, because many of those interests are shared with japan, we have a common interest in strengthening the capabilities of the alliance. syrian government video showing troops firing attacks and rocket launchers in aleppo. they have seized control of about three-quarters of rebel positions in the city. several rebel factions facing a brutal defeat are now proposing a five-day cease-fire so civilians and the wounded can be evacuated. and in bakersfield, california, take a look at this guy. that's ditka, the bear. he's been around before, making himself very comfortable at a home underneath a residence there. when officials couldn't coax ditka out, the man who's renting that particular home decided to
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leave until ditka does. i don't know, he looks pretty darn comfortable under there. that's the news update this hour. let's get back downtown to "squawk alley." i think it's a wise move to move out of that house while the bear is there. >> okay. thank you, sue. sue herera back at hq. we want to keep you honest on the hearing on capitol hill regarding at&t and time warner. here's senator franken. >> -- know because we guaranteed everybody would see you ain't true. so i don't -- i just don't get that. now, mr. bukus, you are recently quoted in a "new york times" article responding to my concerns about how a combined at&t/time warner would prioritize its own content and restrict other distributors access to it. you quickly dismissed those fears, saying that engaging in such behavior would not be in the companies' best interests, and "it would be like selling toothpaste and not putting it in
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duane reade," it doesn't make any sense. that's your quote. i'm not sure it's your analogy that makes any sense. it's not like selling toothpaste and not putting it in duane reade. hbo isn't a toothpaste. it's like cvs, or it could be cvs manufacturing the greatest toothpaste in the world and not letting duane reade sell it. or more the point, it's like selling "game of thrones" and not letting comcast subscribers watch it, or very likely -- you'll get to answer the question after i ask it. >> i'm sorry. >> okay? making comcast pay more for the privilege of having "game of
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thrones" or "veep" or the rest of the lineup. now, i want to be clear what we're talking about here. should this deal be approved, nothing is preventing a combined at&t/time warner from going to any of its competitors in the pay tv market and charging double for access to "game of thrones" and "veep," et cetera, or the combined company to simply restrict access to the programming entirely and wait for competitors, customers to flock to directv or hbo's streaming services. i don't think these hypotheticals are outlandish at all. you'd have every reason to do this if you could, if that would make more money. and this is also for mr. stevenson. you could make more money for at&t in the long run. this is the incentive that's created by the merger. so, mr. bukus, i know you're
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eager to answer this -- do you agree that a combined at&t/time warner would have greater leverage when negotiating program carriage with other content distributors as a result of this deal? and do you agree that a combined at&t/time warner would have a financial incentive to use this leverage for its benefit? >> okay. i was -- >> there was a long pause there. >> i'm sorry i was so eager to answer. no, i don't agree. >> you don't. >> it would not have an incentive, nor would it have the ability to do that. it may require a back-and-forth, but let me try to answer the first part. no, we don't -- all networks, whether it is nbc putting on the show "blind spot," the show is on nbc. it's exclusive to nbc.
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that's where you have to go to watch it. if you want to watch "house of cards" -- >> you didn't have to pay to get nbc. >> yes, you did, sir. you had to subscribe to $80 to $120 of network fees so that nbc could get paid that way. if you're talking in the case of hbo, netflix, showtime, those are a little different -- >> no, wait a minute. there's a distinction between hbo and nbc. >> yes. >> right? >> yes. >> and hbo costs you money -- you had to pay for that. nbc came free with the package, whatever package you have. in fact, you used to be able to watch every tv show for free. >> right. so i think we all remember that term, paid tv. that was hbo, showtime, netflix, et cetera, where you have as a viewer the choice to either pay to have it in your home or pay to not have it in your home. and when you decide to buy that network for the month, you then get the shows on that network.
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"house of cards" on netflix, "billions" on showtime, "game of thrones" on hbo. those are premium services. there's no advertising. if you don't like the content because of its nature, you don't have to have it in your house. it's quite a different business. but what i was saying, and the analogy is right on the toothpaste, is it would make no sense, and in fact, we could go into it to not sell hbo on the comcast cable system, on the verizon cable system. it would make no sense not to offer it. >> would it make sense for at&t to use its leverage to charge comcast more? >> no, because we don't have the market power to do something like that, either at at&t or at hbo. the market's way too competitive for that sort of thing. and remember also -- >> i really think mr. kimmelman might disagree with you. >> well, there's no history of
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anyone pulling off something like that. and this company's certainly not big enough at either end to do that. >> mr. kimmelman, do you have any thoughts? >> it's this very concern that, again, nbc -- these are wonderful businessmen. you know, i understand their goal as to what they do with their business. nbc said the exact same thing. i'll just say, the enforcers found that there were these incentives, they imposed limitations or would have blocked the transaction there. this is even larger. i'll just -- >> and did they live up to the conditions? >> some, but there have been a lot of problems, i think. companies like this company would not even have the resources to take advantage of those tools. i think there are significant difficulties with conditions which we could get into later. but there has clearly been a history of these kind of favoritism discrimination. i'll just remind you, the bipartisan congress in 1992 stepped in and required cable to sell its products, tv networks,
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where they were vertically integrated, to satellite in order to allow satellite to get access to the product. you could have made the same argument, why wouldn't we want to have more people getting it? because it was a competitor to cable. i'm not worried about comcast not getting time warner content in this instant. i'm worried about the online distribution that would compete with at&t that is growing right now, not being able to get exactly what it needs to be a real competitor. >> well, i'm hoping there will be a second round of questions. will there be, mr. chairman? thank you very much. and i just -- so, i'm over my time, but i just want to say that i remember -- >> senator al franken, jeff bewkes, the president of public knowledge, gene kimmelman, all commenting on the time warner/at&t deal and facing probably the most skeptical stretch of questions they're getting today about a lot of issues that have been common to m&a in medias, things like zero rating, and sometimes arcane,
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but if you watch tv, you sort of get. >> yeah, carl, it struck me as just an extraordinary argument that senator franken was making, that hbo essentially has monopoly power in quality programming so they can charge whatever they want. and bewkes was trying to push back saying, well, no, there's netflix, there's showtime, amazon, all these other things people can watch. we can't just charge whatever we want nr "game of thrones." it to me speaks to just not only the importance of content in this day in age but the backlash against large companies. >> but it also shows you how much these two companies will be relying on the idea of choice in the market, that content will be available and different size packages will be available in many more places than traditionally we would have thought of. but worth noting, though, senator franken has been extremely critical about large media mergers. he was critical of comcast's purchase of our parent company, nbcuniversal. even after the deal closed. so, he's speaking from a soap
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box that he very much cares about. time warner shares are sitting about $15 per share below the $107.50 deal price they agreed to, largely because investors worry about regulatory headwinds and they worry about how long this would take to close. >> we're going to keep our eye on that and more headlines will obviously develop this morning. we'll get them to you. meantime, dow session highs up 34. we're now the narrowest range on the dow only since may. we'll take a break and be back after this. [engine revving] ♪ ♪ is it a force of nature? or a sales event? the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event.
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coming up today on "the halftime report," donald trump targets drug prices. a brushback or something bigger? plus, the analyst who released a note minutes after the trump comment about what investors should do with health care stocks. and how to know if the president-elect is negotiating or attacking a company in your portfolio. a big hour of "the halftime report" starts at noon. kayla, we'll see you in about 15. >> sounds good, scott. see you then. meanwhile, president-elect trump's move to save hundreds of jobs at that carrier plant in indiana has drawn lots of attention, including in the world of economic development, as states battle to attract companies and companies angle for the best possible deal. our scott cohn put together our cnbc "top states for business" study and joins us from silicon valley with more as the incentive packages, scott, could get richer and richer. >> yeah. it's going to get interesting, kayla. mr. trump says that for states, and particularly for companies, it is a whole new ball game.
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>> -- from state to state and they can negotiate good deals with the different states and all of that, but leaving the country is going to be very, very difficult. >> states battling states to attract companies? well, that's something we've been telling you about for years in top states, but experts say now states really need to be on their game. >> you want low cost but high public investment. you want really good universities. you want a great workforce training system. you want good government and good quality of life, good infrastructure. but at the same time, you want the cost to be reasonable. >> so, we figured we'd see how our 2016 top states for business stack up in this whole new world. number one, utah, does have a great workforce, still the main battleground among the states, and one of the best economies in the country, but it's not been especially generous with subsidies and access to capital is a bit uneven. runner-up texas shines almost across the board, but it gets
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failing grades in education. that could hurt in growing and advanced manufacturing workforce. colorado, number three, has the best workforce in the country but falls short on subsidies, infrastructure and costs. our 2014 top state, minnesota, number four this year, is great for education but for companies looking to save money by going offshore, the state's high costs are not going to convince them otherwise to stay in minnesota. north carolina has a great workforce and the governor-elect has vowed to repeal the so-called bathroom law that was fanned by business. subsidies also have been generally generous in north carolina. now, if it does come down to subsidies, historically over time, according to the watchdog group good jobs first, leading states, number one new york, number two louisiana, and number three michigan. carl? >> all right, i'll take it. thank you, scott. and when we return, why tech companies might be putting too much emphasis on design over function. walt mossberg joins us after the break.
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apple admitting that its iphone 6 battery problem's bigger than it originally thought. so, is apple and are other tech companies putting too much emphasis on design rather than function? joining us now with his latest column on the issue is executive editor of "the verge" and rico's editor at large, walt mossberg. first of all, i'd like to ask you about the at&t/time warner hearing taking place on capitol hill. just really interesting to me
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the arguments being made about the amount of power that hbo has in the market and that at&t might have if it acquires time warner. what's your take about what this says about where we are in digital content distribution right now? >> obviously there's a huge rush to consolidate the distribution and the content, and we had it some years ago with comcast buying nbc with lots of conditions and strings attached, but now there's this -- there's this rush with verizon and at&t buying -- trying to buy a bunch of content, and my personal opinion, which is kind of what i'm paid to offer, is that it's bad. i think that distribution ought to be distribution, and it ought to compete on the metrics that make distribution great, like
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speed and price and coverage and all those things. content ought to compete on other metrics. you know,i worry about it. i worry about this -- the whole net neutrality thing going up in smoke. >> yeah. i also want to ask you about the subject of your column. you talk about apple's decisions to eliminate certain ports, eliminate certain features. put that in the context of what they've always done, but also, in the context of some of these problems that samsung is having, apple is having with batteries. you feel like the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of making devices thin and light and perhaps not enough attention is being paid to what we actually do with them? >> yeah, i do, and that was the pointed of the column. it wasn't all about apple, as you mentioned. i did talk about samsung, and i talked about pc -- windows pc
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makers and i talked about some of the super thin tv's we have now. it isn't thinless per se, but it's often associated with that. it's just a question of these companies are going for things of beauty that i personally think are making too many functional compromises, and it isn't about moving to the next generation of ports, although there's been a controversy about that. it's the example for apple that i primarily use was not the new mac book pro but the mac book that they brought out last year, which is one port, which pretty much forces you to use a dongle if you want to do something even as simple as charge your iphone off your mac, which lots of people do while the mac is plugged in. i love beautiful objects. i think apple and some other companies have done a great job
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of moving us away from the days where everything was ugly. you said it exactly right. the pendulum has swung too far. it's not good. it's not good for consumers. >> so who do you think swings it back the other way? is there some company that you think is pushing the envelope back perhaps adding functions creatively into devices? you mentioned hp's specter laptop, which is really, really thin, has ports along the back and a configuration we're not used to seeing. anybody at the van garde? >> that's a good example. no, i don't think there's any one company at the van garde, but i think you can find examples. the big example i use is an old one. it's the original ipod, which was both strikingly beautiful and had really innovative design, but also tremendous functionality that had not been seen in its category before, and it really paid off.
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this hp specter is something i raise not because i think every hp machine succeeds at this, but this was a flagship thing. it's actually thinner than the mac book that i was talking about, but it has ports. now, there are usbc ports, and that's the future, and there's a transition period, but at least it has ports. it took a surface that was available that could fit the ports, and it made sure it had that surface and that it had the ports. >> a lot of people are going to be -- >> it's beautiful and functional. >> a lot of people will be wrestling with these issues as they go to the stores looking at holiday gifts for themselves and for others. walt mossberg at the verge. thanks much. >> dow up 48. s&p up four. those are two all-time highs. the nasdaq in the red. back after a break.
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>> let's get to rick santelli and the santelli exchange. >> there are banks and monetary policy and genbully pulpit with the president.
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there's no such thing as free or fair. there are limitless shades of gray. we'll call this piece baseline bias. we see it everywhere. it really is. if you want to get down to it, the real issues are status quo what you get used to, what you call normal versus change. let's just look at everything that we take for granted. society in general. we just had an election. popular vote for electoral versus electoral college, what's really the issue there? trade is a good one. let's look at trade. everybody is nervous that we may have tariffs. i don't know. tax breaks or tax breaks kind of like tariffs? our import-he export banks, general subsidies, are those not somewhat like tariffs? what about the notion of looking at one industry favorably versus another unfavorably. think solar panels and windmills. come on. we're all worried about what president-elect is doing from the bully pulpit. just think about lobbying in general. in all the bias and how that gets attached to money in
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politics. think of things like cafe regulations, okay? corporate average fuel economy. it dictates how many cars, how many trucks are playing around with these different credits. there's no reality there. think labor. we talk about labor like it's free. there's no benefit packages in the many countries we compete with. just minimum wage in general. education. i'm not saying what's good, what's bad. things like affirmative action, where you live. there is no real free. there is no fair. all we can do is try to make a positive difference moving from a status quo that has ill economic effects versus change that may benefit us. in the end there's a lot of hypocrisy here. we've been there, done that. all the things we complain about on one side. the other side looks at them as high value. >> rick santelli in chicago. meanwhile, markets finally finding some legs after a very mild open for a while there. it was the narrowest range
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intraday that we had seen in several years. then as we've gotten higher and higher, that time horizon has gotten shorter. dow is up 18 to 22. although -- >> transports hitting a new 52-week high. >> cuban still talking on the hill. let's get back to headquarters and the half. ♪ upside down and inside out >> welcome to "the halftime report." i'm scott wapner. our top trade this hour, the drug stock sell-off. the two biggest etf's in the space. both under big-time pressure today following a comment from president-elect donald trump. the drug prices are too high. with us for the hour today steven weiss, jim levinthal, the brothers najarian. we begin with the president-elect who tells time magazine "i'm going to bring down drug prices. i don't like what has happened with drug prices." all right. john, how concerned should we be? >> i don't like what's happened with drug prices, quite frankly, and as far as lily, a stock that i still own, judge, i don't like


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