There's a lot of excitement among investors in the electric vehicle space. Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) has been on the receiving end of some of that bullishness, particularly after its manufacturing and licensing deal with General Motors (NYSE:GM). Even if that partnership remains intact, however, investors should think long and hard about an investment in Nikola stock.
In this episode of Fool Live that aired on Oct. 21, "The Wrap" guest host Asit Sharma and Fool.com contributors Danny Vena and Daniel Sparks discuss why investors should think carefully before investing in Nikola.
Asit Sharma: I say this, guys, because Nikola's had quite a ride over the last month. Its CEO, Trevor Milton, resigned. It's been under allegations of fraud, but hovering over all this has been this $2 billion deal with GM. On again, off again deal. Nikola, obviously, without a true product, at this point, needs this deal to go through with GM, so it can license its design and GM can produce its electric vehicles, its trucks. We had an announcement today that GM may still be interested. When I saw this morning, the stock was up about 12%. I know what happened later in the day. But I'm curious, and maybe we'll go with Danny Vena first. Danny, what are your thoughts? Is Nikola something that you just don't want to look at anymore? Do you think maybe this deal can still go through?
Danny Vena: What do you mean "anymore"? I haven't wanted to look at Nikola from the very beginning.
Sharma: There you go.
Vena: For me, it's important that you noted already, they don't yet have a product out on the market. There's been so many ups and downs. I'll throw an article in the chat here in a minute. But I wrote about a month ago that, when you talking about the fact that Trevor Milton was accused in a short report of making dozens of false statements, and exaggerating the extent of Nikola's proprietary technology. The fact that the Securities and Exchange Commission thought that the allegations were viable enough that they should investigate them. Now, Milton and Nikola both said, well, it was a hit job, but then shortly after, Milton resigned, so that gives me pause as well. When you look at all of these factors combined, I don't think any one of them necessarily is a deal-breaker. But you pile them all together and I just look at Nikola and I just say, "I'm not even interested. " Whether or not they get to deal with GM, I wouldn't touch that stock with a 10-foot pole.
Sharma: Wow, I love that. Sometimes we asked for some commentary. I love it when a Fool gives something, an opinion that he or she is just really sure on with a lot of conviction. Speaking of conviction, what's your conviction on this story, Daniel?
Daniel Sparks: Yes, I'm going to let everyone down after Danny because I don't follow this very closely, but just speaking on the technical part of what you discussed, in general, I think that there could be value on those, but it's just not what I do or what most Foolish investors do. I would just encourage investors to really think through the business and understand it and just make an assumption based on that, even if there are good technical indicators or debt balances or whatever. That's just my quick thought on the technical part of your question, but I don't follow otherwise.
Sharma: Yeah, and I'll just give a quick wrap-up on this. I agree with both of you, the general sentiment that you've expressed. I think it's a good object lesson for investors when you see a company that's riding on intellectual property, but the intellectual property isn't something proven over a long time, and you're selling more of an idea than anything else. You're going to need to have some partner to actualize that potential, and if you're already coming to market with problems, it's a company best avoided, maybe follow the story for several quarters. I know many Fools are skeptical, the ones I've informally polled. I'm yet to find someone who's really bullish on this company. I think, our general opinion, advice is avoided. It may look good, like it has a nice balance today. Even if GM does end up investing, it's going to be a hard thesis to prove out over the long term.