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Wall Street Roundup

Visa's plan to go public approved

September 14, 2007|From Times Wire Services

Visa, the nation's largest credit card network, on Thursday got the go-ahead from the Securities and Exchange Commission to move forward with plans to go public.

The SEC approved the company's registration statement, filed in June, which outlined a plan to streamline Visa Canada, Visa International and Visa USA into a single company, Visa Inc.

The companies now are owned by their member banks. Visa's West European business would continue to be owned by its banks, which would own a minority stake in the parent.

San Francisco-based Visa is nearly 50 years old, making it the second-oldest of the four major credit card brands after American Express Co., but it would be the last of the four to become a publicly traded company.

American Express has been a public company for 20 years.

Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard Inc. went public in May 2006 and its stock has risen more than threefold, from $39 at the offering to $139.50 on Thursday.

Discover Financial Services went public in June as a spinoff from Morgan Stanley, and has struggled. The shares, which began trading at $28.75 on June 14, closed at $21.34 on Thursday.

Visa had revenue of $3.7 billion in the nine months ended June 30.

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