Weil's View on Finance, Afternoon Edition
Happy Tuesday, View fans. And now for your end-of-the-day links.
The societal value of activist investors
Wall Street Journal columnist Francesco Guerrera speaks to William Ackman, Carl Icahn and other heavyweights and comes to this thoroughly rational conclusion: "Activism investing is just another way to try to beat the market by picking undervalued stocks. The difference is that activists don't wait for the market to recognize a company's value, they try to make things happen on their own terms."
When is it bribery to hire top government officials' children?
Andrew Ross Sorkin has a thoughtful column on this question after reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether JPMorgan Chase hired the children of China's elite to help it win business. He writes: "If JPMorgan Chase is found to have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by hiring the children of the elite, then the entire financial services industry is probably in a heap of trouble."
Just how much did Glencore overpay for Xstrata?
From the Financial Times's Lex column, writing on Glencore's massive asset writedown just three months after buying Xstrata: "Well, at least we now know for sure that Glencore overpaid for Xstrata by almost $8bn. The question is whether it overpaid by even more than that." Sure seems like it did.
Greece coming back to the bailout trough?
It would surprise no one if Greece winds up needing a new aid program. The news is that Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, just said it will.
Bubble indicator of the day
From Bloomberg News: "A five-bedroom house in Las Vegas sold in mid-July for $499,000, double the price it went for three months ago. In Phoenix, a similar house sold this month for $600,000, gaining $273,000 since March." This could turn out ugly again.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)