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Comcast bids $31 billion for Sky TV, undermining Fox

The US cable TV giant wants to buy Sky, a major European television company, in a $31 billion deal that would swipe Sky out from under 21st Century Fox.

Comcast logo and cable box
Comcast wants to expand in Europe by purchasing Sky TV.

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.