How Will MasterCard (MA) Stock Be Affected by This U.K. Antitrust Case?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- MasterCard Inc. (MA) is facing an antitrust suit filed by U.K. retailers regarding payment fees, and the retailers' leader, WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc. (MRWSY) , is seeking to add $1.6 billion (1 billion pounds) to the amount it's looking to collect from the credit card company, Bloomberg reports.

The lawsuit claims that MasterCard benefitted financially from illegal "interchange fees" on consumer transactions.

Retailers are looking to collect damages from as long ago as 1992, stating that MasterCard's alleged actions should void the usual six-year limit on damages, Bloomberg added.

MasterCard was in a U.K court today and called the accusations it hid information "fanciful," Bloomberg said.

There is a hearing scheduled in January to determine if the six year limit applies. If the court rules against MasterCard it "could affect the quantum of the claims by more than 1 billion pounds," WM Morrison said in a legal document, Bloomberg noted.

Shares of MasterCard are lower by 0.51% to $74.68.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates MASTERCARD INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MASTERCARD INC (MA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

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