Visa Acquires Walmart, Target and Macy’sVisa Inc. on April 1 announced the acquisition of three key retailers – Walmart, Target and Macy’s – thus saving the payment card brand millions in litigation fees defending against the merchants’ antitrust suits over how Visa sets the fees for what it costs to accept its cards. The acquisitions also potentially save Visa billions had it lost the cases.
The move was prompted by Walmart’s move last week to file its own case against Visa, seeking $5 billion in damages that automatically would be tripled under antitrust law if Walmart won the case. Target and Macy’s had filed their own cases earlier.
The lawsuits represent opt-out litigation to a settlement Visa and MasterCard reached in 2012 in a class-action dispute over card-acceptance fees. Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay the members of the class $7.25 billion to settle that case, but some 8,000 merchants opted out of the settlement. Walmart, Target and Macy’s are among the largest to do so.
For Visa, the decision to buy the retailers was simply a matter of mathematics. "We figured with all the money we'd spend defending ourselves in separate litigation over credit card fees, we'd just buy them outright and come out ahead,” said a Visa official who requested anonymity. “Say ‘bye-bye’ to MCX now. Now that we own the big merchants, we’ll figure out a better pricing scheme so we don't have to pay ourselves so much to accept our own cards. Heck, maybe we are MCX now!"
Representatives from the three merchants declined to comment. MasterCard also declined to comment, though one exec reportedly was heard saying to a lawyer representing the National Retail Federation, “Boy, I wish we had Visa’s money.” To which the NRF lawyer responded, “We now do.”
The Department of Justice could not be reached for official comment at press time. One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told PYMNTS.com that the DOJ is reasonably certain that the acquisition is entirely illegal and cannot possibly be allowed to go forward. However, the move is just so unexpected and bizarre that government officials are presently too bewildered to decide how to react, he said.
"It's been a strange week,” the DOJ employee said. “As it turns out, Carl Icahn has a personal fortune sufficient enough to buy eBay and Alibaba outright this morning, and now Visa is taking over the world's largest retailers between breakfast and lunch. It's getting weird out there, and I'm not going to lie to you, we're all a little scared to find out what might happen by dinnertime today."
Goldman Sachs was upbeat on the move. “Instead of all the whining and litigating, spending time in depositions, and stuff, Visa and the three retailers can start focusing on what really matters—making a stinkin’fortune”.
The markets agreed as all four stocks moved sharply higher.
The above is part of PYMNTS annual April Fools edition and should not be mistaken for serious or factual coverage. This is all in good fun, please don't cite us.