PITTSBURGH - PNC Financial Services Group Inc. announced Wednesday that it has hired Ariba Inc. to supply business-to-business electronic commerce applications.

The banking company plans to build a private online marketplace powered by Ariba and to use Ariba's Buyer software to manage procurement. Ariba, based in Mountain View, Calif., will help PNC streamline purchasing, reduce costs, create new business, and improve trading relationships, PNC said.

PNC already has an agreement with FreeMarkets Inc. to help it select the most competitive equipment, supply, and service vendors through a reverse auction format.

It has also teamed up with Ariba to offer BillingZone, a venture with Perot Systems Corp. that offers business-to-business electronic bill payment and presentment as an option for transactions on Ariba's Commerce Services Network.

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