News In Brief

Wal-Mart and other large US retailers will seek $8.1 billion in damages from Visa and MasterCard for alleged antitrust violations involving debit cards, The Wall Street Journal reported. In a suit filed in US District Court in New York, the retailers claim monopoly practices in the debit-card industry forced them to pay high transaction fees and to increase costs to consumers. Visa and MasterCard also are being sued by the Justice Department, which opened a probe of the debit-card business last year.

Healtheon/WebMD Corp., which connects consumers, doctors, and others via the Internet, said it will buy Nashville, Tenn.-based ENVOY Corp., the largest processor of health-care electronic data interchange in the US, for $2.5 billion. With the acquisition, Healtheon/WebMD will process almost 2 billion transactions a year between providers and insurances companies - two-thirds of the nation's annual total, the Los Angeles Times reported. Its headquarters are in Santa Clara, Calif.

Majority interest in CompUSA, the struggling computer retailer, is being sold to Grupo Sanborns, a Mexican retail group, the companies said. The deal is valued at about $1 billion. Grupo Sanborns, which already owns 15 percent of CompUSA, also will take on Microsoft, regional US telephone company SBC Communications, and Telefonos de Mexico as minority investors.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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