Justice To Extend Antitrust Probe Of First Data Deal

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The U.S. Justice Department is expected to extend its antitrust investigation of First Data Corp.'s offer to buy rival electronic funds transfer giant Concord EFS when the preliminary review period expires later this week.

The prelimiary review is due to expire this week but is expected to be extended because of the complexity of the deal, which will marry First Data's NYCE EFT network with Concord's Star Systems, MAC and Cash Station to control about 70% of the PIN-based U.S. debit card market.

The deal is also being scrutinized by attorneys general in 10 states where each of the company's has a major presence. Justice officials are stuyding the deal to determine whether it will have a negative impact on competition in the market for electronic transactions.

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