This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 29, 2001.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Wyly Coyote just got bested again. I'm not talking about the animated character. I am talking about Sam Wyly, the Texas billionaire, who wanted to shut down a certain high-tech roadrunner named Charles Wang. It did not happen, because the ACME weapon of choice this Wyly used didn't prove much better than the one that the cartoon Wile E. used. Shareholders at a certain CA saying no way to this coyote's takeover plans.
With us now, the roadrunner who survived, Charles Wang. He's the chairman and the founder of Computer Associates. Charles, welcome.
CHARLES WANG, CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER, COMPUTER ASSOCIATES: Very nice to be here again, Neil.
CAVUTO: Congratulations. You beat him down, huh?
WANG: Thank you very much.
CAVUTO: What was the final vote?
WANG: We won't have certified results for probably about two weeks, but it's about a 3-to-1 margin.
CAVUTO: Much wider than people thought. What happened? There must have been some last-minute switcheroos.
WANG: I don't know exactly, but I think the shareholders have spoken, spoken clearly. I think we articulated much better what we're doing, what we mean for this business.
CAVUTO: This was a nasty battle. I mean, he was calling you Emperor Wang, there were a lot of racist overtones there. Are you bitter?
WANG: No, I don't think you can be. I think he took it upon himself to run a political campaign, which means you must demonize your opponent. He did that. The interesting thing, thought, is he demonized me, but he himself — I had to admit, we have a great company, great people, great products, great customers, great leadership — made me, any part of being a leader is obviously take the bullet, so to speak.
CAVUTO: As we take a look at your stock, here. I mean, do you think that the wind at your back was the performance of your stock over the last few months? Had you not improved over the last couple of months — I've just gone back over the year, but year to date, you're up a pretty heady amount. Had you not done that, you would have been toast?
WANG: I think we would have been tested more. It would have been perhaps...
CAVUTO: I didn't say tested. Toast. Gone. You would have been out of there. You and Sanjay, the whole crew, out of there.
WANG: I don't know. I think — you don't take 25 years building the right kind of foundation, the right kind of people and so forth, and as you know, stocks will go up and down. But how many high-tech companies you know are in business for 25 years?
WANG: Not only just to survive, but to succeed.
CAVUTO: What do you think was the winning weapon you used here? I mean, very early on you used letters that Wyly was sending you when you first took over his company, Sterling, to indicate that he was supportive of management, and you used his own words against him. What that by design?
WANG: Well, he said it, not I. He said exactly what he said, that Sanjay is one of the best software geniuses from South Carolina, the company CA is the right company of company, takes care of its people and takes care of its cousins.
CAVUTO: When did it get nasty? What happened?
WANG: I don't know. You know, it's almost like you have to keep pressing different buttons until you hit one that people may respond to.
CAVUTO: Was there a slight though, Charles? I mean, a lot of times — I always hear these corporate struggles, a phone call wasn't returned or a dinner was rejected or something wacky happens. Anything like that?
WANG: I don't think so. And if there was a slight, he could have maybe called me. Why didn't I play golf with him? I would have told him, I don't play golf.
CAVUTO: OK. Now, have you heard from him since this apparent victory of yours?
CAVUTO: All right. Do you intend to talk to him?
CAVUTO: No reason to?
WANG: No. Now let's build for all our shareholders value, including him. His 100 shares mean something and it's important. Let's build value for all the shareholders, but let's got on with our business. Distractions, enough.
CAVUTO: All right, but the distraction was telling, in a way. It called into question not only your compensation and Sanjay's compensation, it called into question the performance of the company and whether management, yourself included, Charles, were aloof. You answered that. Obviously, shareholders disagreed with that.
But are you worried now that it puts you under closer scrutiny?
WANG: I think it does put us under closer scrutiny. I think we are headed in the right direction. We're not going to get everything right now, you know that. You know us pretty well. We always will look at it. If we can fix something, change something, we will. But to come in and now claim that everything we've been doing for the last few years as changes he, in the last two weeks or two months has said I'm the catalyst.
CAVUTO: Yes. What about this slowdown, recession, whatever you want to call it. Are we out of the worst of it? Cisco seemed to indicate earlier in the week that maybe we are. What do you say?
WANG: I don't know if we're out of the woods. Our business, thank God, is doing well. We have a new business model that has given us tremendous competitive advantage. I think people are worried. There is a confidence factor, even more so than the actual numbers. You know, every time you have nice numbers, then everybody says, but I'm not confident, I'm concerned.
CAVUTO: Are you confident of first-quarter, second-quarter turnaround next year?
WANG: I hope so. I — you know, we can't — having survived now a big battle, you should always be a little insecure about things.
CAVUTO: I know you broke your hand, but you didn't do that to Wyly, right?
CAVUTO: OK. But you're happy, vindicated. Everything is...
WANG: We're very, very excited.
CAVUTO: DeVonne's OK with this now? She was getting pretty nasty in the press.
WANG: Well, I mean, yes, she was very worried. I called her right after the shareholders' meeting and she said, "Oh, thank God. I can go to sleep now because I didn't sleep last night," she said.
CAVUTO: All right, Charles. Again, congratulations.
WANG: Thank you very much.
CAVUTO: Take care of that hand.
WANG: I will.
CAVUTO: Charles Wang, the chairman, the founder of Computer Associates. And he will remain so after this battle.
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