From chemical makers to utilities, companies are discovering they can save time and money by joining with competitors to sell and buy goods over the Internet. But as critics warn of price-fixing and buying cartels, the business-to-business auction sites are facing scrutiny by antitrust attorneys and regulators.

The Federal Trade Commission already is investigating an Internet site planned by the three largest automobile makers — Ford Motor Corp., General Motors Corp. and Daimler Chrysler A.G. Although federal regulators won’t discuss their enforcement efforts, antitrust attorneys speculate that the government is looking into many more sites.

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