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4 Firms in Venture to Automate Online Trading

November 21, 2001|Bloomberg News

Microsoft Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney Inc. and Thomson Corp. plan to automate the process of issuing securities over the Internet, the companies said Tuesday.

Microsoft (MSFT) and the three financial-services firms formed a venture called I-Deal to standardize the way transactions such as raising capital and issuing stock are carried out. Terms of ownership weren't disclosed.

The venture will license its technology to brokerages and use Thomson's Dalcomp municipal bond underwriting system, the companies said. The system will be available in the first half of next year. The service will be available to Merrill Lynch (MER) and Salomon clients to raise capital, the companies said. Merrill Lynch, Salomon and Thomson Corp.'s Thomson Financial will hold seats on I-Deal's board.

The technology is loosely based on an older system Merrill had used for some internal activities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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