Transcript: Nightly Business Report — May 28, 2015

NBR-ThumANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Sue Herera.

Will today`s big merger in the semiconductor industry kick off a bigger wave of consolidation?

SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: The future of cancer therapy, and why scientists at a high-tech Novartis lab say the future is almost here.

MATHISEN: Catch 22. Which comes first, saving for your retirement or for your kids` education? And how can you save for one without jeopardizing the other?

All of that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, May 28th.

EPPERSON: Good evening, everyone. I`m Sharon Epperson, in tonight for Sue Herera.

MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Welcome, everyone.

It is the biggest deal ever in the semiconductor industry and it is being driven by the increasing need for speed. For people to be connected fast, to the Internet, wherever and whenever they are choose.

Avago Technologies (NASDAQ:AVGO) has agreed to buy Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM). The price: $37 billion in cash and stock — a deal we reported was deeply in the works last night. The combined company will have its technology in a wide range of products, from smartphones to tablets, modems, data centers as well.

Shares of Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) fell 1.5 percent, but that follows a
20 percent rise yesterday on speculation a deal was near. Avago shares closed higher by a faction.

Bertha Coombs has our story tonight on the deal and the flurry of activity in the sector.


It`s a record setting semiconductor deal. Avago, which makes chips that power everything from cellphones and car radios, to data storage, is paying
$37 billion to acquire rival Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), which makes Wi-Fi chips for Samsung and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) phones, Internet modems and cable TV boxes.

ROMIT SHAH, NOMURA HOLDINGS: You`re combining one of the best engineering teams in all of technology, and I`m referring to Broadcom
(NASDAQ:BRCM) with arguably the best management team in the semiconductor industry. Avago has just a terrific track record around integration of acquisitions, particularly over the last couple of years.

COOMBS: If they`re so strong, why merge? Analysts say, beyond the mobile phone sector, demand for chips has slowed, particularly in the PC and corporate enterprise markets, leaving too many players without enough growth.

HUGO BARRA, XIAOMI GLOBAL VP: It is an insanely competitive supply market. We talked about companies like Avago and Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), but there are so many companies that we`ve never heard of who are very, very successful suppliers. So, it`s really all about economies of scale.

COOMBS (on camera): The result has been a wave of consolidations.
Wireless chipmaker NXP bought Freescale Semi for $11 million in March, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is said to be in the hunt for an acquisition and Avago, after buying LSI last year will now become the third largest U.S. chip maker after the deal for Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) closes, although its headquarters is in Singapore.

ERIC SCHIFFER, PATRIARCH EQUITY: It gives them a huge advantage against other semiconductor companies in terms of being able to make acquisitions and to kick out more cash flow.

COOMBS (voice-over): Analysts say Avago`s aggressive move will likely pressure its larger rivals Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to look for deals as well. Expect more acquisitions ahead.



MATHISEN: There have already been $110 billion worth of tech deals so far this year. According to Rich Peterson of S&P Capital IQ, if this pace continues, tech deals would surpass $270 billion in 2015, topping even the dotcom frenzy of 1999.

EPPERSON: And now the stocks which fell on continued concerns over Greece and its debt. More on that in a moment.

And investors remained cautious after Chinese stocks plunge 6 percent.
By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36 points to 18,126, the NASDAQ declined eight, and the S&P 500 dropped two points.

MATHISEN: On the economic front, pending home sales hit their highest level in nine years. The National Association of Realtors says its index which is based on contract signings for purchases of previously owned homes rose nearly 3 1/2 percent in April. Separately, the number of Americans filling new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000, to 282,000 last week. But that number remains at levels consistent with the strengthening labor market.

EPPERSON: The nation`s productivity data may have the same seasonal problems that CNBC uncovered in the GDP data.

Steve Liesman reports that over a 30-year period, first quarter productivity runs nearly a full percentage point below the average for the economy. Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis acknowledged problems with first quarter GDP and has pledged to make fixes.

MATHISEN: Global economic growth is the big topic of discussion, at the meeting of the Group of Seven wealthiest nations. But it`s not the topic that`s not on the agenda officially that is getting all of the attention there.

Steve Sedgwick has more from Dresden, Germany.


STEVE SEDGWICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Here on day two of the G-7 financial ministers and central bankers meeting in Dresden, Germany. The unofficial talk was still about Greece. We had the IMF chief Christine Lagarde dashing market hopes that a quick deal with Greece will be done by saying there was still an awful lot of work to do between creditors and Greece to get a deal on the table.

Elsewhere, I spoke Harvard academic Alberto Alesina who said to me, those who thought that Greece could leave the Eurozone had a so-called Grexit, and it would be fine, are being over-optimistic because that would be unchartered territory.

Elsewhere on the official agenda, it`s all about getting dynamic growth back into the economy. And one source told me that a whole host of academics attended a meeting, which was actually moderately pessimistic, where we have one view that actually the developed, rich economy such as the G-7 would be in a long-term slowdown in terms of growth and never see the more dynamic levels of the past decade or so.

Other key issues on the table include tax evasion, which is being looked at, stopping corporates moving their profits from one country to north, and also Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, he is due to deliver a report on banks and a new code of conduct for financial sector companies.

This is Steve Sedgwick in Dresden at the G-7, for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.


MATHISEN: Teva Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay more than a billion dollars to settle antitrust charges. The FTC says one of Teva`s subsidiaries blocked the launch of low cost generic versions of a popular sleeping pill. The deal is considered a victory for the government in its ongoing campaign against a common drug industry practice known as pay for delay.


EDITH RAMIREZ, FTC CHAIR: We estimated that this pay for delay drug deals cost American consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars into inflated prescription drug prices.


MATHISEN: And the settlement was a record for the agency.

EPPERSON: Tyler, the year`s biggest cancer research conference begins tomorrow in Chicago where the latest advances in treatment will be discussed.

One of the hot topics will be something many considered to be the cancer therapy of the future.

Meg Tirrell has more from inside a Novartis facility in Morris Plains, New Jersey.


MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like science fiction — a new way to treat cancer that involves removing a patient`s cells, equipping them in a lab with super powers and returning them to hunt and kill tumor cells. Known as CAR T, it may be close to becoming a reality, showing in early clinical trials to help patients with leukemia that stopped responding to other treatments.

DAVID EPSTEIN, NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS DIVISION HEAD: There are going to be many other tests in other cancers, immune disorders, and even some genetic diseases may eventually be treated. So, we don`t know if it`s going to be thousands of patients or one day maybe tens of thousands of patients or maybe in best case scenario, many, many years out, it`s even more.

So, it`s a whole new field of medicine that`s very, very exciting.

TIRRELL: David Epstein is the division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, one of the leaders in bringing this technology to market.
CAR T stands for chimeric antigen receptors therapy and is a form of immunotherapy, medicines that harness the immune system to fight cancer.

Novartis says such a different technology requires a whole different manufacturing process, melding a lab with a manufacturing plant. The Swiss drug maker is ramping up what it says would be the first of its kind in Morris Plains, New Jersey. Patients cells go through a guided journey, tracks from the hospital where they are being treated, all the way to Novartis facility by a system similar to air traffic control.

They arrive on ice, dry ice that is, before being sorted to isolate the right ones for the procedure. Manipulated to better detect and fight cancer and then multiplied to pack a powerful punch when they return to the patient.

(on camera): Sterility is so key here. Technicians who work in these labs must suit up with multiple layers of clothing. Right now, I am wearing three pairs of boots, I have put on two different pairs of gloves and currently wearing one. I`m working pants under these pants, this entire suit, the coat underneath it, as well as a complete head covering, goggles and — a mask.

(voice-over): Novartis says its facility can work on 48 different patient therapies at the same time, each one kept completely separate and monitored 24 hours a day.

Novartis researchers say they think of each set of cells as an extension of the patient they`re treating.

USMAN AZAM, NOVARTIS: It`s literally tailored to the individual patient. So, it`s a very unique process. We think of it as a patient, not a bag of cells. In many cases, these are patients with no other options.
So, this is their last option and so we take it very personally and very seriously.

TIRRELL: Other companies are also working on the technology. Seattle based Juno Therapeutics, a smaller bio tech, said in February it signed a lease for a manufacturing facility in Washington state, expected to be up and running early next year.

The therapies must still go through vigorous safety and efficacy testing. And other companies are taking it seriously. Juno Therapeutics said in February it signed a lease for a manufacturing facility in Washington state, expected to be up and running early next year.

The therapies must still go through vigorous safety testing. Novartis says if all goes well, its first CAR T product could reach the market in 2017.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell in Morris Plains, New Jersey.


MATHISEN: Still ahead, the big risks some states are taking to prop up their depleted pension plans.


MATHISEN: More now on that massive global bribery scandal hitting the biggest sport in the world, soccer. The president of soccer`s governing body spoke at the annual Congress for FIFA, his first remarks since soccer officials were arrested yesterday.

Wilfred Frost has the latest from Zurich, Switzerland.


WILFRED FROST, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: FIFA`s 65th annual Congress picked off as planned today, despite a storm of controversy facing FIFA and soccer. That means the presidential vote will take place on Friday, despite opposition from the European football body UEFA.

Earlier today, the head of UEFA, Michel Platini, outlined how he had tried and failed to convince President Blatter to stand down.

MICHEL PLATINI, UEFA PRESIDENT: I said that you have to leave. He was very sensitive on that. His strategy is bring all the congress, to have someone speak out in the room, to convince people to vote for him, and then at the end he will say, look at the democracy of the most numbers, which says that I have to stay and we stay.

FROST: Speaking at the opening ceremony, the president outlined his views on the accusations that have arisen over the last 48 hours.

JOSEPH SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: We will cooperate with all authorities to make sure anyone involved in wrongdoing from top to bottom is discovered and punished. There can be no place for corruption of any kind.

FROST: Criticism for FIFA has come not just from the world of football, but also from their sponsors. We`ve comments from the likes of Nike (NYSE:NKE), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Budweiser and Visa (NYSE:V). Visa
(NYSE:V) saying they were willing to withdraw their sponsorship if things don`t change soon.

One person expressing support for President Blatter was Russian President Putin, who said he felt the DOJ indictment was a sign of the U.S.
trying to reach beyond its borders and potentially trying to stop President Blatter from being re-elected.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Wilfred Frost in Zurich.


EPPERSON: Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) loss was wider than expected but shares surge, and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The teen retailer missed on both the top and bottom lines, but it expects sales trends to improve throughout the year. Since the departure of the company`s controversial CEO Mike Jeffries in December, Abercrombie has made an effort to reinvent itself, for example, by limiting its focus on logo-centric clothing, for example. Shares popped 13.5 percent to $22.30.

Express (NYSE:EXPR) also offered investors an upbeat forecast. The retailer said profit more than doubled in its first quarter, as it scaled back promotions and sales rose more than expected. Its earnings guidance for the current quarter and the year topped consensus. Shares were almost
5 percent higher to close at $17.41.

MATHISEN: Costco (NASDAQ:COST) out with a mixed report, Sharon, today. Earnings topped estimates, but revenue and same-store sales missed forecasts. The warehouse retailer hurt by lower gasoline prices and a stronger green buck. Shares were off a fraction to $144.26.

GoPro, meantime, increasing its product line. The action camera maker will develop quadcopter drone camera, which it expects to be out in the first half of next year. It`s also making camera mounts for the virtual reality market. CEO Nick Woodman says the new gadgets are a big opportunity for the company. Investors seem to agree, sending shares up more than 6.5 percent in today`s trade and finished to $56.81.

EPPERSON: Well, tomorrow is May 29th, 5/29 day, to be exact, and choosing whether to put savings in a 529 college saving plan or a 401k retirement account is a tough choice for some parents. How do you save for both without hurting your own financial security?

Here`s what some parents say and what financial advisers suggest they should do.


EPPERSON (voice-over): It can be tough to juggle: saving for college and retirement at the same time. Many parents don`t think they`ll be able to save enough to cover both. And some are ready to delay retirement or use their retirement savings to help their child cover those college bills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think parents should fund their children`s college education, period. I mean, that`s — if they have not set up a college education fund for their children before they retire, and their children are going to college, then, yes, I think they should use their retirement fund.

EPPERSON: More than half of parents in a recent T. Rowe Price survey agreed that they`d rather dip into retirement savings than have their children take out student loans.

But there are other alternatives for parents of college bound kids.

LAUREN LYONS COLE, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: I think a lot of parents need to think about which school is best for their kids. So, if you have a student who`s a really high achiever, very driven, you know, it might be worth it to pay a little extra to send them to a certain school.
But for most kids, going to an in-state college or something that`s more affordable can be a good compromise if you haven`t saved up much toward for education.

EPPERSON: When it comes on where to save for college, about 30 percent of parents use their 401(k) workplace retirement account about the same percentage use a 529 plan, according to the T. Rowe survey. But more than a quarter of parents said they don`t even know what a 529 plan is.
Financial adviser Lauren Lyons Cole encourages parents and other family members to contribute to a 529 college savings plan, which allows after tax money to grow tax-free and the money can be withdrawn tax-free for higher education expenses.

COLE: If you open up a 529 plan now, you can very easily say, hey, grandma, grandpa, you know, when the holidays roll around, how about contributing toward junior`s college fund? I think that`s a really smart thing for a lot of young parents to do.

EPPERSON: And then keep 401(k) and IRAs earmarks for retirement savings.

COLE: It`s really important not to tap into retirement account when you`re sending your kids to college. You can take out student loans for education, but you can`t take out retirement loans if you need that money later on.


EPPERSON: But research shows many parents are still willing to delay retirement in order to pay for college. There are ways to save for both.
Several financial advisers suggest parents contribute to their 401k plan at work first, up to the employer match, and then work on building up emergency fund. Then start saving for college in a 529 plan, Tyler.

MATHISEN: All right. Some states want to borrow money to fix their pension problems, according to “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)”. Many states are facing massive shortfalls in their public pension obligations.
That is forcing them to come up with alternatives and sometimes risky solutions to fund their problems.

Mary Williams Walsh, a financial reporter at “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)” wrote about this today.

Mary, welcome. Good to have you with us.

This sounds like a risky business. You`ve got a debt, a hole that you owe to your pension people, your pension plan and so what do you do — you go out and borrow more to fill that hole?

MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. It`s a little bit surprising to see this going on now especially because Detroit was bankrupt last year and it had this type of debt outstanding. It was the first thing that they defaulted on. There is quite a bit of risk there and people may not know about it.

MATHISEN: So, not only might they default on the debt, they take out a bond, a municipality or a state floats a bond they at, let`s say, 4 percent and then they are paying an arbitrage game, right, Mary, where they think they`re going to make 8 or 9 percent on the borrowed money and that that money will then go in to the pension plan. What if that doesn`t work?

WALSH: A lot of time it doesn`t work. The bonds are a fixed payment that you have to make according to a schedule that you promised to make, and you put the money that you get from the bonds into the stock market and that goes up and down. So, sometimes, you`re in the money and everything is great, and then other times, if the market goes down, you have a shortage and then you have to deal with that because you do have to pay the bond holders and you have to pay the retirees.

So, there is two kinds of the debt you have to pay now.

EPPERSON: Mary, there are not very many of them left, it seems, but those retirees who are relying on their pension, what does this mean for them?

WALSH: The people — well, yes, the people who are waiting for their pensions, this is a serious promise that the governments are making to them and you can`t just tell people, yes, yes, when you retire, we`ll pay you this money, and then, you know, when they finally do retire, tell them, sorry, we didn`t have it after all.

I mean, you can`t do that. You have to pay it.

So, probably rather than making these bond deals, if there isn`t enough money for your pension plan, then look at it carefully and try to figure out what went wrong here, because they`re supposed to be funded.

MATHISEN: They supposed to be funded. I mean, the alternative, how does — if there is a hole there and they can`t make good on their obligations, underfunding and failure to pay are two different things, obviously. But if they can`t make good on their obligations, what are their alternatives? Raise taxes? Which is political suicide.

WALSH: That is one alternative. I mean, you`re right. Places like Illinois and Chicago are talking about that right now.

They have been told you have to pay this. There is not enough money there and so one of the things they are going to do is maybe raise taxes.

MATHISEN: You`ve got to either raise taxes or find it from cutting some other program or some other expenditure, right? I mean that`s the only alternative.

WALSH: Cutting some other expenditure. In Illinois, they had a court tell them they can`t cut the benefits.

MATHISEN: All right. Mary, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

WALSH: Thank you.

MATHISEN: Mary Williams Walsh, great story today in “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)”.

EPPERSON: Coming up, California is seemingly running out of water.
So, why is some of it so cheap? Jane Wells has the story, next.


MATHISEN: Here is what to watch tomorrow, second read on first quarter domestic product which is the broadest measure of economic activity in the U.S. Also, on the data front, consumer sentiment. And that`s what`s on the agenda for Friday.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Chase will cut more than 5,000 jobs by next year to trim expenses, this according to “The Wall Street Journal”. This is the most recent phase of layoffs, which begun earlier this year. The bank moves to emphasize technology and rely less on human bank tellers but the cuts could affect the company`s major business units, not just its retail branches.

EPPERSON: Tyler, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are used to getting resistance from cities that they operate in, but a new rule being considered in the Big Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) deals, not with the company`s driving but rather their apps, and that has all of Silicon Valley in an uproar. Call it New York versus tech.

Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) has more.


Today in New York City, the Taxi and Limousine Commission held a hearing on proposed regulation over app-based transportation companies including Uber, Lyft and Gett. The TLC says it`s looking to regulate passenger app modification to protect consumers, just as it does with yellow cabs and limos.

MEERA JOSHI, TLC COMMISSIONER: That`s not software. It`s not source code, or any advanced programming, that we, a transportation regulator, are ill equipped to evaluate. We are primarily concerned with the passenger and driver facing screens to ensure that important safety and transparency rules are being followed.

ROGERS: Ride hailing companies say it`s an overstep, as they don`t have New York specific apps. This means certain updates to their national and international apps which takes place every few weeks would have to go through a New York City regulatory body.

The tech community, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) are also up in arms, signing an open letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying they are gravely concerned about the precedent this may set going forward.

MICHAEL BECKERMAN, THE INTERNET ASSOCIATION CEO: The concern is that this new regulation creates an unworkable standard and a chilling precedent for innovation in New York.

ROGERS (on camera): Other cities like Portland, Oregon, have found success in cooperating with disruptors. Right now, Portland is in a midst of 120-day experiment with ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.

CHARLIE HALES, PORTLAND MAYOR: One other parts of our deal with Uber and Lyft and these other companies is they`re going to supply us with a very rich vein of data that they haven`t typically made available to cities and, obviously, we`ll keep that confidential. But it will tell us a lot about what`s actually happening out there.

ROGERS (voice-over): TLC considering testimony from today`s hearings and will reconvene on June 18th. Until then, for these drivers, it`s business as usual, apps and all.



MATHISEN: So, what is water worth? In drought-stricken California, it is clearly worth a lot. But you`d never guess by the price of it, because it`s so cheap.

Jane Wells has more from Oroville, California.


JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: You are looking at what is being called the cheapest water in the country, and it`s in California. How can that be?

MIKE GLAZE, SOUTH FEATHER WATER & POWER G.M.: We have an abundance of stored water.

WELLS: Here in this pocket, in a middle of a state seemingly running out of water, the South Feather Water and Power Agency has more water than it needs to service its 7,000 customers near the town of Oroville.

South Feather`s two reservoirs were originally built as part of a hydroelectric plant and that electricity is sold to PG&E, subsidizing 60 percent to the water`s cost to residents. So, for every unit of water, or about 750 gallons that customers use, they pay 42 cents.

How much do you pay for water?

TINA SEBASTAIN, SOUTH FEATHER WATER CUSTOMER: It`s about $22 a month and I have three teenagers and my husband and I. And we also raise 4-H animals.

STEVE SEBASTAIN, SOUTH FEATHER WATER CUSTOMER: I think we are very fortunate to live in this part of the state.

WELLS: Not everyone in Oroville is so lucky. There are three water agencies here. Nearby, Lake Oroville is seriously depleted and only South Feather has rights to the cheap stuff.

JIM TOWNSEND, BARBER: I think it`s wrong. Let`s even it out a little bit.

WELLS: Here is the difference — decades ago, the folks at South Feather thought ahead. They built reservoirs and a power plant when you can do that in California, up stream, with senior water rights they are first in line for the water.

GLAZE: Our reservoirs were built for our purposes independently.
We`re not obligated to state water contractors or any downstream. We believe the Constitution protects our water rights and we will defend those water rights vigorously.

WELLS: But the state is mandating cuts, and South Feather has been ordered to reduce total water usage 36 percent, even though any water saved will just stay in this reservoir for its won customers. At the same time, though, there is still enough cheap clean water that Mike Glaze is pitching Oroville as a oasis for business.

Oroville has been identified as probably the best place in the state of California for biomass energy generation.

WELLS: That`s an industry which makes power out of the remnants of timber and needs a lot of water. Oro is Spanish for gold, and the gold rush made Oroville. Now, some here hopes something more necessary and perhaps more precious can revive its fortunes.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Jane Wells, Oroville, California.


EPPERSON: And that`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sharon Epperson. Thanks for watching.

MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me, as well. Have a great evening, everybody. And we will see you right back here tomorrow night.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at The program is transcribed by CQRC Transcriptions, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests and commentators are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Nightly Business Report, or CNBC, Inc. Information presented on Nightly Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice. (c) 2015 CNBC, Inc.

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