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I think I see where I was making my mistake. I looked at the shares being directly sold to the public in the IPO (406 million). I didn't even notice the total number of shares including those retained by the banks (857 million). I ran my calcs by the book, made sure everything was all nice and tidy, and I was starting with the wrong numbers to begin with. Garbage in, garbage out.

Another 451 million shares drops the value from ~$90 smack down to the $40 price range of the IPO. In other words, the only major reason to buy Visa over Mastercard is if you think it has a strong competitive advantage.

TMFMrCHW, thank you VERY much. You almost certainly saved me from losing a lot of money and spending the next year trying to figure out what the heck just happened.
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