MasterCard Takes $495M Charge To Cover Fee Suit

Published February 2, 2012 1:36PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — Payments processor MasterCard says it took a $495 million charge in its fourth quarter to cover potential losses from an ongoing lawsuit brought by merchants over the fees they pay on credit card transactions.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company says the charge represents the after-tax portion of a potential settlement in the case. Wall Street had speculated the bill would run about $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion if MasterCard Inc. and rival Visa Inc. settle the suit.

The charge reduced MasterCard's fourth-quarter profit. The company earned $19 million, or 15 cents per share, on revenue of $1.73 billion. Removing the charge, it says profit came to $4.03 per share,

Analysts were expecting profit of $3.92 per share, on revenue of $1.73 billion.

By Salon Staff

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