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Antitrust concerns cloud Visa’s $5.3bn purchase of Plaid

The US Justice Department (DOJ) is scrutinising Visa’s planned $5.3bn deal to acquire fintech firm Plaid, which connects bank accounts with fintech apps.

Reports suggest that the DOJ may soon take a final call on whether to sue to block the deal, which was first announced by Visa in January.

It is believed that the department is apprehensive that the deal could negatively impact competition in the payments sector.

A petition was filed by the government with a US district court in Massachusetts to mandate consulting firm Bain & Co to turn over documents needed as part of the antitrust review.

It is also seeking some documents that detail Visa’s strategies around pricing and competition with rival debit card networks.

Plaid acquisition is expected to give Visa access to nearly 200 million consumer bank accounts and 2,600 financial technology apps, which could accelerate Visa’s push into new areas such as real-time payments and digital wallets.

The deal received approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in August this year.

Visa has carried out several consolidation activities in recent years.

Last year, the firm acquired payment gateway software provider Payworks as well as token services and ticketing businesses of Rambus.

Visa also snapped up payment protection solutions provider Verifi, and cross-border payment services provider Earthport in 2019.

In November 2019, Visa picked a minority stake in Nigerian fintech Interswitch.

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