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Jennifer Bjorhus

It took seven years to reach a proposed $7.25 billion antitrust settlement between retailers and Visa, MasterCard and the banks that issue their plastic cards.

It took another year to feud over the agreement.

On Sept. 12, supporters and opponents were in a New York courtroom as part of what’s likely to be the final showdown over claims that the credit-card companies broke antitrust laws by fixing billions of dollars in swipe fees that merchants pay each year.

Major retailers have objected to the settlement as perpetuating a broken payments system, with many backing out of it altogether. Some, including Target, are taking new legal action. read more »


Target Corp. is opposing a proposed $7.25 billion antitrust settlement over credit-card fees with Visa and MasterCard, arguing that the deal “is bad for both retailers and consumers.”

The Minneapolis-based retailer is believed to be the largest company to publicly oppose the settlement, adding heft to merchant blowback since the deal was announced July 13. The proposed accord calls for Visa, MasterCard and 13 big banks to pay $7.25 billion to settle accusations that they have been colluding, fixing ever-higher credit-card swipe fees that have been gouging merchants.

Target suggested in a statement it issued July 20 that the deal doesn’t do enough to fix the system. “Target has no interest in surcharging guests who use credit and debit cards in order to allow Visa and MasterCard to continue charging unfair fees,” the company said. read more »

Real Estate

When Staples Inc. came calling and the vacant Office Depot space John Johannson had in Bloomington was just too big, he did what a landlord has to: He chopped the big box down to size.

It’s the type of move the Twin Cities can expect to see more of as landlords struggle with a glut of empty big-box stores — cavernous reminders of the hammering retailers have taken during the recession. read more »

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