US cable TV giant Comcast has offered to buy Sky TV, a major UK television company, undermining a long-standing takeover attempt by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.
Comcast said early Monday that its offer values Sky at $31 billion, or £22 billion. The £12.50-a-share offer in cash is higher than the £10.75-a-share offer from Fox Inc. that Sky accepted 14 months ago.
Later Tuesday, 21st Century Fox released a statement saying it remains committed to its cash offer for Sky.
Comcast's offer is the latest in a frenzied period of media giants attempting to buy one another, as traditional television and film companies face growing competition with tech giants. Deep-pocketed companies like Amazon and Netflix have eye-popping budgets that are pouring money into media production.
Meanwhile, AT&T is trying to buy TV programmer Time Warner despite government opposition, and Disney in December agreed to purchase 21st Century Fox, a deal that also needs approval from regulators.
Brian L. Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO, called Sky an "outstanding company" in a release Tuesday, highlighting its 23 million customers and leading market position in the UK, Italy, and Germany.
"Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming," he added.
Comcast plans for Sky to serve as a launchpad for its growth in Europe, which it said would increase Comcast international revenue to 25 percent of total revenue from 9 percent. Comcast has a London presence through NBCUniversal international operations already.
Originally published Feb. 27 at 7:07 a.m. PT
Update at 11:05 a.m. PT: Added Fox response.