'This is tanks on their lawn' - Murdoch cops a $39 billion blindside

Walt Disney Co (DIS) Could Find Itself In Bidding War For Fox

Comcast, which owns TV networks such as E! and NBC as well as Universal Pictures, said the deal represented a "strategic opportunity to acquire a leading content and distribution business in the United Kingdom and Europe".

However, Comcast's bid is well above 21 Century Fox's bid, which values the company at £18.5 billion, and which shareholders had claimed undervalued it. Comcast would settle with owning Sky alongside Fox or Disney as minority shareholders, he said.

In the United Kingdom, the Competition and Markets Authority has expressed concern that the Murdoch Family Trust will seek to influence culture and political opinion in Europe with assets like Sky News, much in the same way it does in the USA with Fox News.

It has also pledged to ensure the future of Sky News, a flashpoint in Fox's £11.7bn takeover bid because of competition fears centring on Mr Murdoch's ownership of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers.

Roberts said that he, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and Comcast Cable boss Dave Watson have visited Sky, met Sky executives and looked at its business and strategy closely in recent years, saying he feels the two are the best companies in the world in terms of re-imagining consumer experiences in the digital age.

Roberts said: "Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our worldwide revenues from 9% to 25% of company revenues".

He said: "Comcast seems unlikely to face the same level of regulatory headaches as Fox, which is still awaiting approval on the deal more than a year since it was first agreed". That works out at £12.50 per share - 16% higher than Fox's offer.

A more attractive option for Sky? He also said that there would be expanded opportunities to distribute Sky and NBC content across both the USA and the United Kingdom.

Another option for Fox: Hold on to its 39% stake, making it a partner with Comcast in Sky, at least until Disney completes its Fox takeover.

Comcast said it had only a minimal presence in the British media market and did not see any plurality concerns over its proposal.

CFO Michael J. Cavanagh suggested that Sky News and NBC News could collaborate.

"While Comcast does own a substantial global operation in the United Kingdom". It appears that Fox now has competition if it wants to ultimately purchase Sky.

Part of what makes Sky attractive to USA companies wishing to expand in Europe is that it is an established brand across several countries in the region, where people are often used to paying monthly fees for pay TV.

Sky's headquarters in London are shown.

On the good side though, analyst Craig Moffett wrote that the deal will boost distribution of NBCU in Europe and the nature of the all-cash transaction would boost Comcast's leverage to 3.0x EBITDA pro forma.

The bid comes as Disney is in the process of acquiring 21st Century Fox's assets, including its film studios and television networks.

The UK government may also be looking for a way to defuse the political risks from the Fox bid, they added.

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