Weil on Finance: Twitter's Groupon Comparison
Happy Tuesday, View fans. Here is some of what I’ve been reading this morning.
Anthony Catanach, an accounting professor at Villanova University, has a great rant on his blog about the disclosures and accounting practices in Twitter’s registration statement. He is especially critical of the company’s merger-and-acquisition accounting, at one point comparing Twitter to the savings-and-loans of the 1980s: “Undifferentiated strategy, unclear business model, and uncontrolled accounting and reporting.” Pay attention. He called Groupon perfectly.
Daniel Yergin on why OPEC no longer calls the shots
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the longtime chronicler of the petroleum industry looks back at the oil embargo by Arab exporters 40 years ago: “The real lesson of the shock of 1973 and the second oil shock set off by the overthrow of Iran's shah in 1979 is that they provided incentives -- and imperatives -- to develop new resources.”
Fire Jamie Dimon? Nah, don’t fire him
Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times points to some journalists and pundits who say JPMorgan Chase’s chairman and chief executive officer should be fired in light of the bank’s legal troubles. Then he gives the other side: “There is an almost bizarre disconnect between the headlines and what the people who matter —- the investors, analysts, board members and, yes, even regulators —- are seeking. None of them want him fired.” For the record, I have said JPMorgan should hand the chairman’s job to someone else. But I haven’t said he should be fired. And I haven’t seen any groundswell to get rid of him.
Mohamed El-Erian, the CEO and chief investment officer of Pimco, writes in a piece for Fortune about the debt-ceiling showdown: “As they pivot to yet another set of short-term solutions that risk leaving too many open issues, Congress would be well advised to watch an old Monty Python clip in which a knight (played by John Cleese) unexplainably puts himself in harm's way. Sequentially robbed of his limbs by King Arthur, the knight refuses to come to terms with his predicament. He confidently declares ``tis is but a scratch,'' treating each blow as just a ``flesh wound.'' And having absurdly announced that he is ``invincible,'' the knight is left behind immobile and irrelevant. Point being: Financial writers love harkening back to the Black Knight. (I’ve done it myself. See the second link.)
The latest from Capitol Hill
Washington is starting to look a lot like the European Union, bouncing from one artificial crisis and deadline to the next, with no end to the drama in sight. The most recent twist is that Congress is a step closer to buying more time. From Bloomberg News this morning: “Senate leaders are poised to reach an agreement as early as today to bring a halt to the fiscal standoff, and now must race the clock to sell the plan to lawmakers before U.S. borrowing authority runs out this week. The emerging deal would stave off a potential default, end the 15-day-old government shutdown and change the immediate deadlines in favor of three new ones over the next four months. It’s far from complete as the Senate may delay passing the plan and House Republicans may seek to block or change it.”
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)