The business information giant Dun & Bradstreet announced its first electronic commerce venture Tuesday.

D&B North America president Andre Dahan said it aims to play a central role in business-to-business Internet transactions.

The company unveiled a new venture,, that initially will "offer buyers and sellers the opportunity to exchange business credentials" to enhance the security and trustworthiness of Web transactions, said Mr. Dahan, also president of eccelerate.

D&B formed an alliance with the digital certificate vendor Verisign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. Together they will offer to prequalify the 57 million companies in the D&B data base for on-line commercial dealings. The DUNS identifying number would be embedded in the certificates, which Mr. Dahan said would "lead to a new standard for secure B-to-B e-commerce."

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