Visa wins OK from SEC as it readies for IPO http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070913/bs_nm/visa_ipo_dc_2 NEW YORK (Reuters) - Visa said on Thursday it won approval of a registration statement from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a key step in the world's largest credit card network's plan to go public by early next year. Visa first outlined plans last October to float a majority of the company, now owned by its 13,400 member banks, in an initial public offering to be held within 12 to 18 months. In a letter to the member banks, Chief Executive Joseph Saunders called approval of the registration statement "critical" to the restructuring and said Visa is pursuing an "aggressive timeline" to obtain approval. The restructuring contemplates a new publicly traded entity, Visa Inc, that will combine Visa USA, Visa International and Visa Canada. Another affiliate, Visa Europe, will remain a membership association and take a minority stake in Visa Inc. San Francisco-baed Visa has said it intends to use IPO proceeds to fund expansion and an escrow account to help cover potentially hefty legal bills. Visa and the smaller MasterCard Inc (MA.N), which is based in Purchase, New York, face a variety of antitrust lawsuits from rivals and retailers, some of which accuse them of price fixing. According to a filing with the SEC late on Wednesday, Visa Inc posted net income of $856.4 million, or $1.10 per share, on operating revenue of $3.73 billion for the nine months ended June 30. Visa USA accounted for 71 percent of profit and 70 percent of revenue.