On wrong timing and strange coincidences

Hahaha! Hobbes! it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic.

For years retailers have been complaining about extortionate fee charges by credit card companies (namely MasterCard and Visa) eating out their already slim margins.

While Visa was owned by a consortium of world banks nothing ever came out of their lobbying. However, as soon as Visa went public and became the largest IPO ever -hence fewer powerful banking shareholders on board- Reuters reported that:

EU opens antitrust proceedings against Visa Europe

Don’t they even have the decency to at least wait for a couple of months? In a matter of weeks, what was an untouchable business unit of the global banking industry became a target. So now, small, medium, and large investors will have to cope with the legal fight and pay in lost revenue and legal expenses.

We could see similarities in the YouTube take over by Google, but in that case it was a transformation from ‘why bother suing a penniless bunch of geeks‘ into ‘Google has my content for download in its servers‘.

In this case is more of ‘hush, let it go, the small retailers are too disorganised to build a clear fighting front, so keep banks happy‘ turned into ‘for the good of the many, let’s redistribute richness, suckers!‘.

To be fair, the issue has been around since the beginning of the millennium, and in the case of MasterCard, the European Commission ruled last year the current system of multilateral exchange fees was contrary to EU antitrust rules.

Commission competition spokesman Jonathan Todd said that MasterCard has to come up with an alternative system and convince Brussels that there were benefits for consumers. It is now ‘Visa time’



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