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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

VISA to Pursue IPO

It is probably to no surprise, but Visa is going to recapitalize via a series of mergers into a new corporation owned by members. Then it will move forward toward an IPO, although you can bet they are working on that simultaneously. The full press release is here.

The company has to unite its regional entities, and it has to search for the right CEO and an independent board of directors.

"This is a great time in Visa's history to make this transition - we continue to be a leader in the payments industry, our growth and emerging market strategies are succeeding, and the growth potential in the global payments industry is tremendous," said William I. Campbell, chairman of the Visa International Board of Directors. "We expect that the new structure will accelerate Visa's growth and position us to better serve our financial institutions and merchants."

Visa claims 3,564 employees in the US and links some 13,000 financial institutions. It also claims about 6.3 million merchant accounts, and has some 500 million cards issued.

Since MasterCard (MA) priced at $39 in May and traded up over $70 now, this probably shouldn't be considered that large of a surprise of any real sort. Shares of Mastercard (MA) are trading down 0.13% at $71.82 in pre-market activity on fairly light volume. Its trading range since coming public is $40.20 to $75.85.

Maybe the consumer will win here. If they get into a pricing war those 18% interest rates on many credit cards could come down.

Jon C. Ogg
October 11, 2006
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