LONDON (AP) _ Reuters Group PLC, the British media and information company, and Equant NV, a U.S. voice and data network, are launching a venture to provide e-commerce services to the financial industry.

Reuters will control 51 percent of the venture, called Radianz, which aims to offer business-to-business Internet services to banks, brokerages and other financial firms.

Equant, headquartered in Atlanta, will hold 49 percent of Radianz.

The new company will be based in New York and have 500 employees, most of whom will be transferring from Reuters, according to Tuesday's announcement.

Radianz represents Reuters' latest step in solidifying its position as a purveyor of hi-tech business services and information. Reuters already operates the world's largest electronic brokerage firm, Instinet, and an Internet Greenhouse Fund of holdings in startup dot-com businesses.

``Radianz is a key component of Reuters Internet strategy, providing the communications element to go with content and technology,'' Reuters chief executive Peter Job said in a statement.

Among the venture's first customers is Euroclear, a clearance and settlement system for Internationally traded securities.