Weil on Finance: A Great Short and a Willy Wonka Room

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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Hello, View fans. Here are your morning links.

Taking a victory lap after a well-played short

John Hempton of Bronte Capital wrote a sweet blog post last night on why his fund has been short a Canadian mining company called Gabriel Resources, which has a gold project in Romania. The company's largest investor is Paulson & Co., the hedge fund run by John Paulson of "greatest trade ever" fame. And this week Gabriel's stock has fallen more 50 percent. It now trades for less than a buck a share. "The company used to have a multi-billion dollar market cap based on an old deposit with no working mine -- and which was only recently deemed not worth even running," Hempton writes.

LinkedIn's stock sale and insane valuation

LinkedIn, which trades for more than 700 times earnings and 22 times revenue, just sold $1.2 billion of stock at $223 a share. "There is a real likelihood that this could all end in tears, and I say that as someone who back in the tech bubble bought Ask Jeeves at $180 a share," writes Ohio State law professor Steven Davidoff. This feels so late 1990s.

Lehman Brothers' $2 billion legal bill

Sure, it's a lot of money to spend on lawyers in a bankruptcy case. But it's not over the top, said Robert Lawless, a law professor at the University of Illinois, in an interview with Bloomberg News: "It's easy to be outraged and say it shouldn't happen, but is this emblematic of a system that's broken and isn't working? I can't look at $2 billion in fees in a $639 billion case and say that."

The outlook for Apple's new phones

From the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column: "What Apple rolled out Tuesday may not be enough to convince consumers to upgrade." The item goes on to say that "Apple either needs to deliver more revolutionary innovation with the next iPhone or bring its pricing closer to Target levels."

The weirdest room for an accounting firm, ever

It seems Grant Thornton's office in Belfast, Ireland, has a Willy Wonka room, with lollipops painted on the walls and the whole bit. I'd explain further, but it's too hard. Click the link to the Belfast Telegraph, and you'll see. Anyway, never let it be said that all accountants are boring.

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