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Visa, MasterCard in $6 Billion Settlement

"These new rules will give merchants the tools they need to put pressure on the credit card networks to lower interchange or swipe fees, which are the second-or third-highest cost of doing business for many retailers," said Patrick J. Coughlin, senior trial counsel at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, and one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs.

Joseph W. Saunders, chairman and chief executive of Visa, said in a statement Friday that he's comfortable with the agreement, which he believes will not affect the company's earnings outlook.

"We believe settling this case is in the best interests of all parties," he said.

Noah Hanft, MasterCard Inc.'s general counsel, said in a separate statement on Friday that the decision to settle "was based on our belief that MasterCard and our stakeholders are best served by an amicable resolution."

"Although we have strong defenses to all claims, a settlement avoids years of litigation and uncertainties that are inherent in such cases," he said. "We believe that today's settlements should resolve all issues with the merchant community."

Visa and MasterCard stock both jumped in after-hours trading. Visa climbed 2.8%, and MasterCard rose 3.7%.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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