Visa and Plaid call off $5.3B merger citing DoJ pushback

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Visa is calling off its marriage with fintech startup Plaid rather than fight the Justice Department’s claims that the tie-up would limit competition in the debit-card market.

The two companies announced after the closing bell on Tuesday that they are terminating their planned $5.3 billion union after coming to the conclusion that it would require prolonged litigation with DoJ, which sued to block the deal in November on antitrust grounds.

“We believe the combination of Visa with Plaid would have delivered significant benefits,” Visa chief Al Kelly said in a statement. “However, it has been a full year since we first announced our intent to acquire Plaid, and protracted and complex litigation will likely take substantial time to fully resolve.”

Visa announced its acquisition in Jan. 2020, but the deal was held up by the DoJ review.

“While Plaid and Visa would have been a great combination, we have decided to instead work with Visa as an investor and partner so we can fully focus on building the infrastructure to support fintech,” Plaid co-founder and CEO Zach Perret said in a statement.

News of the the merger’s death sent Twitter afire with speculation that Plaid could become an acquisition target by a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, with some users predicting that so-called “SPAC King” investor Chamath Palihapitiya will pursue Plaid with his fifth SPAC after using his fourth to do a $8.65 billion deal with fintech darling SoFi.

Since the merger was announced, the market for SPACs has caught fire and some speculated that Plaid, valued at $2.65 billion after its most recent funding round in 2018, would be an ideal target for a SPAC to merge with and take public.

“Tomorrow’s Trending Keywords: Plaid, Chamath, SPAC” tweeted user Rocco Savage.

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