EC Gives Go-Ahead to Reuters, Equant JV

BRUSSELS (04/18/2000) - The European Commission (EC) today approved the creation of a joint venture between Reuters Group PLC and Equant NV to provide an Internet Protocol-based networking service. The joint venture will particularly focus on offering a secure extranet service to the financial community.

"The examination carried out by the Commission revealed that the joint venture does not threaten to create or strengthen a dominant position," the Commission said in a statement issued today.

Reuters will own 51 percent of the new company, provisionally named "Proton," while Equant will hold the remaining 49 percent of the joint venture.

Companies use extranets -- private networks that use IP and the public telecommunications system -- to communicate business information with their suppliers, vendors, partners, customers or other businesses.

Traditionally, financial services relied on the use of private telecom networks especially for mission-critical functions such as carrying out transactions on financial markets, but competition in the sector and the development of the Internet has led users to demand lower costs and greater reach than available over private networks. Proton responds to these user objectives, according to the Commission.

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