First Data shareholders have voted to approve the company's $7 billion merger with Concord EFS, despite the threat of a US antitrust judgement against the proposals.
The move to press ahead with the vote indicates that First Data plans to fight the litigation proceedings brought against the proposed merger by the US Department of Justice. The DoJ is pressing for First Data to divest the NYCE debit network and accept conduct restrictions on how it routes transactions.
First Data has succeeded in its petition for a Federal court hearing in mid-December, against the DoJ's preferred timetable for proceedings to begin on 5 January.
Charlie Fote, chairman and CEO of First Data Corp, comments: "The union of First Data and Concord is pro-competitive and good for the payments industry. We look forward to proving that in court and are thankful that the court has agreed to an expedited schedule."
Market sources suggest First Data may be prepared to let the court scuttle the deal rather than accede to the DoJ's demands.