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Visa deposits 500M into litigation fund
NEW YORK (6/3/10)--Visa Inc. deposited $500 million into an account earmarked for litigation costs, a move that acts as a repurchase of class B shares. Credit unions and banks are the sole owners of class B shares. Visa put the funds into the litigation escrow account on Friday, the company said in a press release. The deposit has the effect of a repurchase by the company's more than 6.7 million shares of Class A common stock at roughly $74.22 per share, on an as-converted basis, by reducing the as-converted Class B common stock share count to 136.3 million from nearly 143 million shares. As a result of the deposit, the conversion rate applicable to Class B common stock has decreased to nearly 0.56 cents from more than 0.58 cents. Each class B share is now convertible to 0.56 class A shares. The escrow account had been established previously under the company's retrospective responsibility plan. Visa had set aside $3 billion from its March 2008 initial public offering to cover potential liabilities in lawsuits alleging the company conspired to stifle competition and fix prices, reported Bloomberg Businessweek (June 1). The account provides coverage and potential payments for judgments or settlements in U.S. legal cases and protects its common shareholders from direct losses. Previous deposits to the account included $700 million in July 2009 and $1.1 billion in December 2008.


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