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The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) was successful in its attempts to to stop Visa’s acquisition of fintech firm Plaid, the DoJ said in a press release on Tuesday.

According to the announcement, Visa and Plaid had officially called off their planned merger — for which Visa was ready to pay $5.3 billion — almost a year after it was first announced. Back in November, the DoJ alleged that Visa was using the acquisition to monopolise the market, and snuff out its competition. Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement:

“Visa — which has immense power in online debit in the United States — has extracted billions of dollars from those transactions. Now that Visa has abandoned its anticompetitive merger, Plaid and other future fintech innovators are free to develop potential alternatives to Visa’s online debit services. With more competition, consumers can expect lower prices and better services.”

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In his own statement the CEO of Visa, Al Kelly, said that the merger would have brought significant benefits to Visa’s customers, such as greater innovation for “developers, financial institutions and consumers”. Kelly did however say that a protracted and complex litigation “will likely take substantial time to fully resolve”, which is one of the reasons Visa decided to abandon the acquisition of Plaid.

The announcement that Visa was attempting to acquire Plaid came as a no surprise last year, considering the fintech startup has designed its software to connect disparate systems of financial data securely. The company has also worked with a number of DeFi projects in 2020, and is already integrated with Dharma, an Uniswap-friendly DeFi wallet, and Teller Finance, a DeFi startup aiming to bring unsecured lending to the Ethereum blockchain.

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