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Kroger, Other Retailers Sue MasterCard

CINCINNATI – First it was Visa, now it's Master Card. The Kroger Co. here led a group of supermarket and drugstore chains in filing an antitrust lawsuit against MasterCard in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The move follows Kroger's announcement last month that it and the other retailers were suing Visa USA, Inc. over rising credit-card fees. Kroger did not issue a statement about the suit, and was unavailable for comment yesterday afternoon. According to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, the retailers allege that MasterCard and its member banks illegally fixed interchange fees charged to merchants who accept their cards. They are seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

An attorney representing the retailers said that the separate lawsuits against Visa and MasterCard are meant to demonstrate that each of the company's systems is anticompetitive on its own.

The other plaintiffs in the case are Albertsons, Inc.; Safeway, Inc.; Ahold USA, Inc.; Walgreen Co.; Jean Coutu Group, Inc.'s Maxi Drug Inc.; and Eckerd Corp, a unit of CVS Corp.

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