Weil on Finance: The Frenzy Over WhatsApp

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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Back from vacation. Happy Monday, View fans. Here's what I've been reading this morning.

Other fledgling companies you've never heard of before soon may fetch billions of dollars in buyout talks, or at least get a lot of stories written about them in the financial press.

Now that Facebook Inc. is paying $19 billion for WhatsApp Inc., we'll be reading a lot more about other little-known companies that let users send messages, such as Tango, Kik and KakaoTalk. Bloomberg's Sarah Frier and Serena Saitto have a good roundup on the search for the next WhatsApp. The second link takes you to a piece by New York University finance professor Aswath Damodaran who tries to make sense of what Facebook is paying.

The bear case on Kinder Morgan.

Barron's writer Andrew Bary took a scalpel over the weekend to Kinder Morgan, a pipeline operator that consists of four separate but interlocked companies. Master limited partnerships are extremely confusing beasts, and this article does a good job of explaining. Investors love the huge yields, but the valuations have gotten awfully high. An unusually high portion of the profits is going to a general partnership in which Rich Kinder, the chief executive officer, has a 23 percent stake.

Ukraine may not default after all .

The European Union looks ready to hand strife-ridden Ukraine about 20 billion euros to prevent it from defaulting on its debt, according to the head of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee. KyivPost reports that Ukraine's parliament may chose a new government by tomorrow.

What a shocker, the renminbi can go down in value.

From Josh Noble of the Financial Times, writing about the Chinese currency's 1.3 percent decline against the U.S. dollar in three days: "While the percentage decline may appear small compared with some of the recent double-digit swings in other emerging market currencies such as the Argentine peso or Kazakh tenge, a move of such magnitude in the renminbi is highly unusual. It could also spell trouble for investors. After years of ultra-low volatility thanks to the managed peg against the dollar, the renminbi has often been the subject of large, highly-leveraged positions for investors viewing it as an effective one-way bet."

This one is for everyone who loves stories bashing lawyers .

From the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida: "Patrick Coulton's lawyers ripped him off to the tune of $275,000 and left him to rot in prison. But Coulton is getting payback: He now lives in his former lawyer's home — a three-bedroom house in Miramar that he will eventually own as part of a court-ordered punishment of the two misbehaving attorneys."

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)

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

To contact the editor on this story:
James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net