Visa Inc. (V) and MasterCard Inc. (MA), the world’s biggest payment networks, put any potential settlement of price-fixing litigation by merchants at about $4 billion.
MasterCard “extrapolated an estimate of a reasonably possible loss of at least $500 million if there is a negotiated settlement with all plaintiffs,” MasterCard Chief Executive Officer Ajaypal S. Banga said on an earnings conference call with investors yesterday.
In February, Visa, MasterCard and the banks being sued by merchants over swipe fees, or interchange, agreed that San Francisco-based Visa would be responsible for two-thirds of any settlement and Purchase, New York-based MasterCard would be responsible for about one-eighth. Visa has a litigation escrow account with $2.7 billion in cash available, it said in a regulatory filing. Those figures put a potential settlement at $4 billion.
The opposing parties yesterday argued before U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, New York, on why he should rule in their favor without the need of a trial in the antitrust litigation, begun in 2005.