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What has 17 board members and doesn't make any money? The answer: Uber.
Uber's board of directors approved changes on Tuesday that left founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick with less clout at the ride-sharing company, according to a New York Times report. The meeting also shuffled the company's corporate governance enough to make an investment palatable to Japan's SoftBank. SoftBank is expected to invest between $1 billion and $1.2 billion at Uber's current valuation of about $70 billion. Uber's board will now swell to 17 members, including new additions in former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and credit bubble executive John Thain. The world's largest retailer Walmart (WMT) has 11 people on its board, for comparison purposes.
All in all, the situation at Uber is ridiculous. From an ousted founder that still sits on the board and who is unlikely to go away quietly, to upset young rich tech investors to a new CEO trying to find his sea legs, Uber remains a company in absolute turmoil. Keep in mind that Uber still hasn't made any money and with rival Lyft and others on the prowl, there is no indication a future of amazing profits is guaranteed. Uber is not a public company today, six months from now, or even 18 months from now. Instead it remains a company with a decent app, independent drivers that have mixed feelings on the brand and a board that makes it easy for headline writers. Get your act together people -- the talent exodus is next, and so is a valuation haircut.
Autos Are HOT
Suddenly automaker stocks are hot, and it's mostly down to an active hurricane season. Because let's face it, as we learned from Ford's (F) day-long investor presentation on Tuesday the auto industry is going through profound change. With such a shift to renting cars on demand, there will likely come years and years of painful restructuring. Further, there is no guarantee 25 years from now most people will even own cars.
Check out TheStreet's Tom Terrarossa's full coverage of Ford's investor day here.
Nevertheless, after several months in the doldrums following weak sales (about that ride-sharing thing ...), shares of Ford and General Motors (GM) have risen 8.6% and 17%, respectively, over the past month as investors wager people in hurricane impacted parts of Texas and Florida will need to buy new cars. A Bloomberg measure of U.S. automaker stocks has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than three times since Hurricane Harvey hit on Aug. 25.
Many industry experts estimated that up to 1 million cars were damaged by intense flooding in Texas and Louisiana due to Harvey alone.
Nissan (NSANY) Chairman Jose Munoz told TheStreet (video above) recently that demand for cars will likely increase in storm ravaged areas.
What's Coming Up
TheStreet will be sitting down with Qualcomm (QCOM) CEO Steven Mollenkopf and PepsiCo (PEP) Chief Financial Ofifcer Hugh Johnston on Wednesday. Suffice it to say, a busy day on tap -- have to go from talking about semis to soda in a matter of hours. More details to come on both interviews. But in the meantime, keep an eye on my Twitter account @BrianSozzi for anything we may learn.
Join Jim Cramer, CNBC's Jon Najarian and Other Experts Oct. 28 in New York
Jim Cramer will host CNBC's Jon Najarian, TD Ameritrade's JJ Kinahan, famed analytics expert Marc Chaikin and other market mavens on Oct. 28 in New York City to share successful strategies for active investors.
You can join them as they discuss how smart investors can make the most of options trading, futures contracts, fundamental and quantitative analysis and great ETFs to buy right now. Participants will also get a chance to meet Jim and other panelists and take photos.
When: Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: The Harvard Club of New York, 35 West 44th St., New York, N.Y.
Cost: Special early bird price: $150 per person. (Normal price: $250)
Click here for the full conference agenda or to reserve your seat now.