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SCOTT JAGOW: Right now the credit card giant Visa is basically a private membership club. It’s controlled by a network of banks. But yesterday, Visa said it’s gonna reorganize and become a publicly-traded company. MasterCard went public in May. So what’s up with this? Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.
ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: It’s about the money.
Visa is facing a lawsuit from merchants claiming the company charges them artificially high fees each time a customer uses a Visa.
Going public means the banks who now own Visa are protected from legal claims.
And there’ll be plenty more of those says Robert Manning, author of Credit Card Nation.
ROBERT MANNING:“They will be selling stock in the new Visa International Association to raise billions of dollars both to settle their lawsuits as well as to enhance their global transactional network, as well as their global mass marketing.”
Something he says Visa is eager to do, because the U.S. market is saturated.
Although MasterCard’s share price has jumped since its IPO, Manning says that’s nothing to get excited about.
He says the real test of each company’s share price will come only after they’ve settled their legal claims, estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars.
In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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