- "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer circles back to a formerly red-hot tech stock making a big turnaround
- Cramer also sits down with the CEOs of PayPal and SoFi for a take on fintech.
- In the lightning round, Cramer shies away from pharmaceutical stock Merck.
With technology stocks top of mind for investors worried about fraying trade relations, CNBC's Jim Cramer turned to one "blast from the past" stock making a serious comeback: Akamai Technologies.
From 2015 to 2017, shares of Akamai, the world's largest cloud-based content delivery platform, stayed under pressure, out of favor on Wall Street and unable to bounce back.
Now, the stock is up 64 percent since its August 2017 lows, with the web content giant boasting high-profile clients like Adobe, Fox and IBM.
"While there are a few reasons for Akamai's recent strength, the main one is that an activist got involved last December, Paul Singer's Elliott Management, and Akamai has embraced their ideas almost lock, stock and barrel," the "Mad Money" host said.
Elliott Management, which took a 6.5 percent stake in Akamai, has pushed the company to cut costs, add independent directors to its board and explore strategic opportunities such as potentially putting the company up for sale.
"My view? Akamai has some extremely valuable assets, and Elliott will ... keep helping bring out the value of the enterprise, and if that value peaks or stalls, then I think the company will be put up for sale," Cramer said.
"The bottom line? The only thing better than a turnaround is a turnaround that's getting juiced with steroids by a very smart activist firm," he continued. "That's what's happening at Akamai and it's why I like the stock right here, especially since it pulled back a few points from its highs last week, giving you an excellent entry point to do some buying."
"First, let me distill Larry's philosophy into one word: growth," Cramer said on Wednesday. "Growth is true north for this fine but forceful gentleman, and as long as the president takes him seriously about what's true north, that is good for the stock market."
Calling Kudlow "the most pro-growth person I've ever met," Cramer said that his years working with the TV personality on CNBC's "Kudlow & Cramer" taught him how articulate and "at home with the media" Kudlow was.
"That matters tremendously when you have a president who likes to take his cues from cable news, or at least the people on cable whom he agrees with," Cramer said.
For PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, the main driver of his company's gains to date has been "the digitization of cash."
"The entire financial system's ecosystem is moving, more rapidly than ever before, away from cash and towards digital payments because of the explosion of mobile phones," Schulman told CNBC on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with Cramer.
With 227 million subscribers, 65 percent of whom reside outside of North America, PayPal has seized on this "explosion" of digital payments around the world, Schulman said, speaking from CNBC's 1Market in San Francisco.
This rapid digitization has led to countries like India and China opting for efficiency and, in some cases, skipping over financial technologies like checking accounts and credit cards in favor of digital payments, Schulman told Cramer.
Schulman also shared what running peer-to-peer payment service Venmo has shown him about how younger generations manage their money.
SoFi's new CEO, Twitter veteran Anthony Noto, took the CEO role at the financial technology company to help build a next-generation financial institution, he told CNBC on Wednesday.
But to outperform the rest of the increasingly crowded fintech space, the privately held SoFi needs to do three things, Noto told Cramer in an exclusive interview.
"First, we have to have the best selection — and not just selection of each product, but variations of those products," Noto said. "Second, we have to provide unmatched convenience. Anytime, anywhere, on any device, you should be able to access all of your financial information, do any activity that you want across the broad spectrum of products that we'll launch over time."
Noto's third initiative for the company — which helps its "members," or customers, refinance student and mortgage loans, take out personal loans and even get career advice — had to do with speed.
On Wednesday, "Mad Money" marked its 13th year on the air, and Cramer thought some thank yous were in order.
"The reason we have a 13th anniversary, the reason we have any anniversary, is that you've supported us, you've cheered us and informed us about what you need to take control of your finances. We're still on the air because of you," he told viewers.
"You started with us in the halcyon days of an economic expansion. You stuck with us during a horrendous downturn, the worst since the Great Depression. You fought with us to get back to even. You stayed with us as the market soared and we urged you to stay in when so many other people told you to get out," he continued.
The enthusiasm Cramer has seen in the last 13 years has inspired him to keep going. It has also confirmed what he's known all along: that homegamers can successfully invest for themselves.
"Believe me, as long as you keep watching — and the network doesn't haul me out of the studio in a straitjacket — I'll keep coming out here to entertain you and educate you and, hopefully, make you a better investor," he said. "After 13 years, keep sticking with Cramer."
In Cramer's lightning round, he rattled off his take on some callers' favorite stocks:
Phillips 66: "They are incredibly well-run. That stock can go higher. I have to tell you, they've created real value there. Stick with it."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Abbott Laboratories.