Cos. Buying Nascent Rivals Should Beware Antitrust Scrutiny

By Jessica Michaels (March 18, 2021, 4:33 PM EDT) -- On Jan. 12, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Visa Inc. and Plaid Inc. had abandoned their planned $5.3 billion merger, which the DOJ had sued to block two months earlier.[1]

The DOJ's November 2020 complaint acknowledged that Plaid, a financial technology firm, did not have existing technology that currently competed directly with Visa.[2]

Nevertheless, the DOJ alleged that the proposed transaction would "eliminate a nascent competitive threat that would likely result in substantial consumer savings and more innovative online debit services."[3] Rather than engaging in a potentially costly and lengthy legal battle, Visa and Plaid walked away from the proposed...

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