Department of Justice Stops Visa’s Deal with Startup

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. fall through / fɔl θru / (phrasal) – to not succeed or happen

    Our travel plans fell through because we suddenly became busy at work.

  2. object / əbˈdʒɛkt / (v) – to oppose something

    Many people objected to the strict parking rules.

  3. antitrust / ˌæn tiˈtrʌst / (adj) – relating to the protection against unfair business strategies

    The company was accused of antitrust violations because it bought its smaller competitors.

  4. monopolize / məˈnɒp əˌlaɪz / (v) – to almost completely take control of an industry by being the only one who sells a product or offers a service

    After the pandemic caused smaller airlines to close down, the major airline monopolized the air travel industry.

  5. retract / rɪˈtrækt / (v) – to take back an offer or statement

    The witness retracted his original testimony and said that he was lying.


Read the text below.

Visa’s plans to acquire Plaid, a US-based financial technology startup, have fallen through after the Department of Justice (DoJ) objected to the deal.

In January 2020, Visa publicized its Plaid acquisition deal, which was worth $5.3 billion. When the deal was announced, Visa said that it would greatly influence its own business direction for the next 10 years.

However, the US DoJ interfered and filed an antitrust claim that led to the deal’s cancellation. The department stated that if Visa had successfully acquired Plaid, its control over the online payment industry would further expand.

The DoJ filed the claim on November 5, 2020. The claim stated that Visa is monopolizing the online payment industry and is charging billions of dollars in fees annually to process online payment transactions.

Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General in the DoJ’s Antitrust Division, called the successful court action a victory for American consumers and small businesses. He said that the deal’s termination gives Plaid and other companies the freedom to develop alternative online payment services. Delrahim added that this is beneficial to consumers because when there are more alternatives in the market, companies can be expected to offer better services and lower prices.

After the deal’s cancellation, Visa CEO Al Kelly said through a press release that the company believes the acquisition of Plaid would have resulted in significant benefits for both consumers and financial institutions. He added that despite retracting the acquisition deal, Visa still greatly respects Plaid and will continue to partner with the startup to provide a better experience for their users.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think stopping the acquisition was the right thing to do? Why or why not?
• How much control do you think the government should have when it comes to business transactions like acquisitions and mergers? Explain.

Discussion B

• What do you think consumers can do to make sure that online financial services are charging them fairly (e.g. read terms and conditions, check for hidden charges)? Discuss.
• In your opinion, should there be many companies offering online payment services or should there be only one? Why?