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Published: Saturday, 12/24/2011

Visa to set aside $1.6B for price-fixing accord


SAN FRANCISCO — Visa Inc., the world’s biggest bank- card network, will deposit $1.6 billion into its litigation escrow account, the biggest addition in three years, as it prepares to resolve price-fixing accusations.

Visa will draw on funds allocated to a $2 billion Class A share-buyback announced this year, the San Francisco company said Friday in a statement.

Merchants sued Visa, MasterCard Inc., and banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2005, contending that the card companies squelched competition by banning merchants from steering customers to cheaper forms of payment. An accord may cost $4 billion, and in February, the defendants agreed that Visa would be responsible for two-thirds of any settlement.

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