Covisint Online Exchange Gets Final Approval

Covisint, the Internet exchange where major auto manufacturers will buy materials online, cleared its final regulatory hurdle when it received approval from German authorities on Tuesday. The company said it will begin pilot transactions on Friday and then will start conducting business next week.

"Covisint is now cleared to transform itself from a planning initiative to a company," Peter Weiss, the lead manager at Covisint from DaimlerChrysler ( DCX), said in a statement. "It will establish a corporate identity, begin hiring permanent employees, and of course, open trade on the exchange between customers. You can expect the exchange to go live soon."

The approval comes a little over two weeks after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave a similar green light to the auto exchange. The close scrutiny came because there were concerns that the exchange, which will be run by competitors, could spark anticompetitive practices. It was founded by Ford ( F), GM ( GM) and DaimlerChrysler. Renault and Nissan will also participate in Covisint.

In morning trading on Wednesday, the approval was helping to push up the stock of Commerce One ( CMRC), which has been working on the exchange's technology. In addition, a broader partnership with Microsoft, which was announced Tuesday, was helping the stock. Commerce One shares were up $3.63, or 4.8%, to $78.75. Oracle ( ORCL), another technology partner on the exchange, saw its shares rise 56 cents to $80 each.

With Covisint's regulatory hurdles out of the way, it's now time for the company to execute on the huge promise of business-to-business e-commerce. As one of the first giant Internet exchanges to be announced by a major industry, it will be a closely watched barometer for B2B in general.

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