Uber Scooters and NutriSystem -- ICYMI

Uber is likely to see the public markets in 2019, but how does it get profitable before then? Annie Gaus attempts to answer that question by digging into Uber's two-wheeled efforts: namely in bikes and scooters. The past few months have seen a frenzy of investment in two-wheeled transportation businesses, with Uber as one of the more aggressive participants. In April, Uber acquired Jump Bike, a dockless bike startup, for a reported $200 million. In July, it also made an investment in LimeBike, a scooter company, as part of a $335 million round along with Google Ventures, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) , Institutional Venture Partners, Atomico and Fidelity Investments Inc. In a July interview, Lime's CEO, Toby Sun, told TheStreet that soon you'll be able to book its scooters through Uber's main app in addition to other partnership opportunities in the fast-evolving transportation sector.

Ex-NFL star and NutriSystem Inc. (NTRI) TV promoter Dan Marino isn't complaining -- probably -- but shareholders are piping up about the diet company's extravagant television advertising budget. The company "has remained addicted to TV advertising," says Ted White, 52, co-founder of activist fund Legion Partners. White and Legion are targeting NutriSystem -- which calls Marino, Mike Golic, Marie and Donny Osmond and others celebrity spokespeople -- with an insurgency, launched publicly Aug. 2. In an exclusive interview with The Deal's Ron Orol, White said the company has invested too heavily advertising on TV and should allocate more of its roughly $200 million annual marketing budget on digital channels, all of which he believes will result in a decline in customer acquisition costs. According to the activists, the move could double earnings per share from $1.90 in fiscal 2017 to $4.00 by 2020. White argued that rivals such as Weight Watchers "are way" ahead in the transition to digital. The Legion campaign has emerged after NutriSystem's shares dropped from a high of about $52.50 a share in January to as low as $26.95 a share in March before recovering a bit lately, to trade at about $36.05. Some observers attribute some of the drop off to the stunning growth of rival Weight Watchers International (WTW) , driven by new product offerings and Oprah Winfrey, who acquired a 10% stake in 2015. The Oprah involvement has helped raise Weight Watchers profile, and the company has reportedly gained one million more members in a year, while its shares are worth more than 13 times their value in 2015.

Markets Today: Stocks edged up on Tuesday, Aug. 28, as Wall Street reacted to news of a possible NAFTA overhaul that could lead to the end of trade disputes between the U.S., China and the European Union. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly while the S&P 500 crossed 2,900 for the first time before giving up most of its gains to end up just 0.03%. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, gained 0.15% to 8,030.04, after earlier trading as high as 8,046.31. It was the third straight record close for both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Michael D. Brown, Assignments Editor, TheStreet Inc.

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