ACE ( ACE) has sold three run-off reinsurance units to Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings, an international insurance-management firm. The agreement to sell ACE American Reinsurance, Brandywine Reinsurance Co. (UK) and Brandywine Reinsurance Company S.A.-N.V. was announced in January 2005. Because of the sale, ACE has reduced its exposure to legacy liabilities, including asbestos, by about $900 million and has lowered its reinsurance recoverables by roughly $400 million. Shares of ACE, an insurance company, were down $1.03, or 2%, to $49.56. Visa U.S.A. and First Data ( FDC) agreed to settle a legal dispute, pending since 2002, regarding the processing of Visa payment-card transactions. Specific terms of the settlement weren't disclosed. However, First Data said Visa will provide financial support to pursue mutual business opportunities and cost-cutting initiatives that are "expected to drive new innovation, reliability, security and new merchant acceptance." First Data will transfer existing private arrangements between itself and Visa-member financial institutions on to VisaNet. Shares of First Data, a provider of electronic-commerce and payment services, were off 21 cents, or 0.5%, at $44.78. Credit giant Mastercard ( MA) saw its shares decline despite a number of positive research calls from Wall Street firms. Citigroup and KeyBanc Capital Markets initiated coverage of the stock with buy ratings, while Prudential started Mastercard with an overweight rating and Cowen rated it an outperform. HSBC and JPMorgan are giving Mastercard, which went public in May, a neutral rating. Shares of Mastercard were losing 32 cents, or 0.7%, at $46.98. Doral Financial ( DRL) reached an agreement with Westernbank Puerto Rico, a unit of W Holding ( WHI), to restructure the mortgage loan sale transactions between the companies. As of May 31, the unpaid principal balance of all mortgage loans previously sold by Doral to Westernbank was around $954 million.
Doral will transfer to Westernbank its retained interest on the mortgage loans, and it will continue servicing the loans in exchange for an annual fee of 25 basis points of the unpaid principal balance. Additionally, Doral will buy back at face value any mortgage loans that are 90 or more days delinquent. Meanwhile, Westernbank will discharge Doral's recourse obligations under the original mortgage sale agreements. Shares of Doral lost 11 cents, or 1.7%, to $6.39. Chicago Mercantile Exchange ( CME) is buying Swapstream, an electronic-trading platform for interest rate swaps. Swapstream will operate as a wholly owned unit of CME and will remain based in London. Swapstream was launched in 2003. "The acquisition of Swapstream is part of CME's strategy to further leverage our transaction-processing capabilities and attract new customers to our products and follows on our other OTC initiatives," CME Chairman Terry Duffy said in a statement. The total cost for CME to acquire Swapstream is $15 million, including $6 million for the share capital and $9 million to repay debt. Shares of CME rose $9.23, or 1.9%, to $506.08. IndyMac Bancorp ( NDE) plans to increase its ownership stake from 93.75% to 100% in Financial Freedom Senior Funding. IndyMac will buy the remaining interest for $40 million from the chairman of Financial Freedom. As a result, IndyMac won't pursue an initial public offering of Financial Freedom shares. IndyMac was down 66 cents, or 1.4%, to $46.13.