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S&P gives Western Union negative outlook after settlement with federal agencies

S&P Global Ratings affirmed its BBB long-term and A-2 short-term issuer credit ratings on Western Union Co. and revised the company's outlook to negative from stable.

The negative outlook is based on Western Union's settlement with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission related to whether its antifraud and anti-money-laundering operations adequately oversaw its agents and dealings with third parties. The company is paying a total of $586 million to settle the investigations.

S&P believes the independent auditor and the deferred prosecution agreement signed in connection with the settlement raise the potential of further enforcement actions, regulatory fines, or curtailment of business activities.

The settlement and its findings present a greater potential for risk than the ratings agency previously considered, according to the report.

However, S&P does not believe the company's market position, brand reputation, financial performance or liquidity will be meaningfully affected by the settlement.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.