American Express comments on Visa/MasterCard anti-trust lawsuit

American Express today issued a press release commenting on last week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals affirming district court judge Barbara Jones‚ ruling in favor of the U.S. Government in its antitrust lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard.

“We believe that the September 17th ruling by the appellate court effectively ended the legal arguments on the merit of this case. Visa and MasterCard have said they plan to appeal the ruling, but we believe that represents no more than a delaying tactic. Those delays are likely to run for months, not years. Based on our assessment, Visa’s and MasterCard‚s delay tactics will run their course no later than mid-2004.

“In the meantime, we will be renewing our discussions with banks about establishing network partnership agreements in the U.S. There is a strong interest among banks to partner with us in the U.S. just as they have internationally. We expect to have the first of our U.S. bank agreements signed no later than the second half of 2004.

“As we have said earlier, we continue to consider the possibility of bringing private legal action against the card associations. The September 17th court ruling reaffirms the viability of this course of action.”

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