A US panel approved Japanese state-owned NTT Communications's plan to buy Verio Inc., an Internet services provider, for $5.5 billion. President Clinton now has 15 days to decide whether the deal should go through - although technically, NTT had to extend the deadline for its offer for the deal to still stand. US law prohibits the transfer of a telecommunications license to a company owned 25 percent or more by a foreign government, but officials may forgo the limitation if they believe it is in the national interest. The deal, analysts have said, could present the US with a foreign espionage risk by giving NTT access to US wiretapping activities. Clinton's decision would set a precedent for similar cases in the future, including Germany's Deutsche Telekom's push to buy US mobile operator VoiceStream.
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