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Andersen unit invests in online petroleum exchange

AC Ventures, the company's venture capital arm, makes a major investment in FuelQuest, an online trading exchange for the U.S. petroleum marketing industry.

    AC Ventures, the venture capital unit of Andersen Consulting, said today that it has made a major investment in FuelQuest, an online trading exchange for the U.S. petroleum marketing industry.

    AC Ventures joins Lehman Brothers Venture Partners as an investor in the new trading exchange, which aims to reduce the time, costs and paperwork involved in the purchasing processing between suppliers and partners in the industry. Additionally, AC Ventures partner Barry Cater will join the FuelQuest board of directors, the firm said in a statement.

    The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

    Through AC Ventures, which was established last December, Andersen has been focusing on making investments in dot-com start-ups in an effort to nab more Internet-related business.

    As part of the FuelQuest deal, Andersen intends to develop the online marketplace and framework to enable participants to integrate their e-commerce software with back-office applications, such as order fulfillment, order management, financials or inventory management to streamline the supply chain and ordering process.

    FuelQuest said it is seeking to partner with some 10,000 independent U.S. petroleum marketers that distribute the majority of the country's petroleum products, providing them with a way to conduct their business via the Net.

    Andersen has already made a number of investments in Internet start-ups, including an equity stake in Internet marketing software company Prime Response, electronic merchandising software maker Blue Martini and chemical and plastic Net exchange ChemConnect.

    With the recently formed AC Ventures unit, the Big Five management consulting firm plans to invest up to $1 billion during the next five years to create new, Internet-related businesses.