Today’s WSJ letter(Jan 10, page A-13) by lead plaintiff Mitch Goldstone, was submitted on Dec 28. It was on page 13, yet it took 13-days to be published. Number thirteen seemingly marks an all around unlucky time for MasterCard.
Most WSJ letters appear within 2-3 days after being submitted, their turnaround is super-fast, but our letter, from among the thousands they must receive each day took nearly two-weeks to be reviewed and published. We guess that the editors mandated that their legal staff review each element of the letter, and it eventually did get printed.
An even more detailed letter was previously posted on this WayTooHigh.com website.
Printing this letter was also most admirable for a major publication. It speaks volumes about the paper’s journalistic integrity. In these times of diminishing ad revenues, the paper pushed aside prudence and caution and risked emotionally engaging its leading adverting category -financial institutions (banks and Visa / MasterCard) which we are battling over their merchant interchange fees.
Next topic: Major Insider, MasterCard Attorney, Sold About $1,000,000 in Stock
In after-hours trading MasterCard’s stock declined 3%, partly due to the American Express’ 6% decline on announcing a 4th quarter, $440 charge as credit card spending weakens. Amex is overshadowed in size by MasterCard and the larger Visa card association which shared many of the same board members; thousands of its member banks are connected with both leading companies too. That news arrived on the same day that our letter to the editor was printed. Today is a good reminder of Visa and MasterCard’s admonishment that if our litigation is successful they both risk (in their words) “insolvency.”
Not to suggest anything improper, and we definitely are not, but when MasterCard’s general council, who over the last few years has been among our greatest nemesis, and often quoted in reaction to our litigation, cashes out, eyebrows are raises. You would have thought MasterCard would have forced this news to be published after-hours on a Friday evening, but it’s Thursday night and the news is out – the stock is now down more than 3% in after hours trading. The SEC filing occurred on Wednesday. Surprising that the employee dis not wait until Thursday or Friday evening to cash out.
Just for the perception value, someone should have suggested the person defending the class-action antitrust litigation not sell shares at this time. This is, after all, MasterCard’s attorney, his company is a lead defendant in what could cause the credit card association to become insolvent (according to their SEC-filed IPO Risk Factors), yet he is cashing out a portion of his holdings.
It is one thing when a junior level executive sells stock to pay a tax bill or send their kids to college, but the general council? Gasp! According to news reports, Noah Hanft is cashing out about $1.0 million dollars from his holdings. I can already hear stock commentator Jim Cramer go on the attack against this action: perception is often reality.
Today was also one of the most visited recent days for WayTooHigh.com. This evening, we anticipate more Purchase, NY readers clicking away too.
According to the news reports, this MasterCard stock sale was prearranged, but, then again, our litigation against the company was filed in May 2005.
[Editors note: to be clear, we are not suggesting anything improper, it's just the action that is so glaring].