BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Visa Inc. are in talks aimed at settling the retailer’s $5 billion lawsuit over payment processing fees, according to a Bloomberg report.
The company disclosed the negotiations in a court filing on October 5 in Brooklyn federal court where dozens of retailers are pursuing claims against credit-card companies alleging they illegally fixed the interchange or “swipe” fees.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, and other merchants dropped out of a nationwide settlement with Visa and MasterCard Inc. over the fees after retail trade groups argued that the compensation was too low and the terms too generous in allowing the card companies to raise rates in the future.
In May 2013, a group of 19 merchants including 7-Eleven Inc., Alon Brands Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Gap Inc. said they were opting out of the settlement.
Amazon.com Inc. also dropped out of the deal and is pursuing claims in a separate lawsuit with a group of other retailers. Approval of the settlement, initially valued at $7.25 billion then lowered to $5.7 billion to account for the dropouts, is on appeal.
Wal-Mart claimed Visa’s conduct caused it to suffer “enormous damage” from January 2004 to November 2012. In the filing Monday, lawyers for both sides asked to delay information-sharing in the dispute to “continue to engage in discussions” on settling dueling lawsuits.
Randy Hargrove, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, confirmed for Bloomberg that the companies are “attempting to resolve their litigation” and have asked the court to halt further proceedings.
Connie Kim, a spokesperson for Visa, declined to comment to the news agency.
The case is In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation–Opt Out Cases, 14-md-1720, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).