Weil's View on Finance, Afternoon Edition

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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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.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net