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VISA U.S.A. SAYS ANTITRUST RULING MAY HARM CONSUMERS

 VISA U.S.A. SAYS ANTITRUST RULING MAY HARM CONSUMERS
 SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Visa U.S.A. Inc. said it will


seek to overturn in the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City or, if necessary, appeal a jury verdict that Visa violated federal antitrust laws when it refused membership in the Visa association to a direct competitor, Sears -- owner of the Discover Card.
 Visa called the decision anti-competitive and said it represents a major setback for consumers' interests. "Allowing a direct competitor into the Visa system will reduce competition between two major card brands, Visa and Discover. Reduced competition means less innovation and fewer choices for the consumer," said H. Robert Heller, president and chief executive officer, Visa U.S.A.
 The ruling will allow Discover, already a successful credit card, to use strategic information about the Visa franchise to its competitive advantage and capitalize on Visa systems and expertise that have been built up over the past 25 years.
 The suit was brought by SCFC ILC Inc., a division of Sears Roebuck & Co. (NYSE: S), which issues the Discover Card. Sears had sought to issue a Prime Option Visa card through Mountain West Financial, a failed savings and loan which SCFC ILC acquired from the Resolution Trust Corp. in 1990.
 "We firmly believe the consumer will be better served by separate and vigorous competition between major credit card brands," Heller continued. "Allowing Sears, owner of Discover, to issue Visa is tantamount to forcing Burger King to sell Big Macs. The jurors were faced with the nuances of antitrust law and a complex case with far-reaching implications for fair competition and U.S. antitrust policy.
 "It is inconceivable that the courts ultimately would require a joint venture such as Visa to share the results of its innovations and investment with a direct competitor. That would be like forcing Dean Witter to share its resources and trade secrets with Merrill Lynch. It would be the death knell for competition as we know it today."
 -0- 11/5/92
 /CONTACT: Dave Brancoli of Visa U.S.A., 415-570-3830/
 (S) CO: Visa U.S.A.; SCFC ILC Inc.; Sears Roebuck & Co. ST: California, Utah IN: FIN SU:


TM -- SF012 -- 7948 11/05/92 17:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 5, 1992
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