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On Wednesday, the Comcast Corporation made a formal bid to buy a majority control of Sky in a deal valuing the British company at $31 billion.

Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said Sky withdrawing its recommendation on the Fox bid was what the USA cable giant wanted to achieve by formalizing its offer on Wednesday.

Fox has seen its bid for full control of Sky, which was first tabled in December 2016, held up by a series of regulatory investigations.

But the United Kingdom competition watchdog has raised a host of concerns over the Fox acquisition, while since then, Walt Disney has also agreed to snap up a raft of Fox assets including the Sky 39% stake.

In the continuing saga of USA media conglomerates battling over Sky of the United Kingdom, Comcast has fired the latest salvo in its hopes of gaining control of the company. "As a result of the announcement of this higher cash offer, the Independent Committee is withdrawing its recommendation of [Fox's] offer", they said in a statement.

And in a bid to head off any competition concerns, the group said it would vow not to acquire any majority stake in any United Kingdom newspapers for five years. The offer also establishes Comcast's intent to maintain Sky's United Kingdom headquarters at its Osterly campus. "We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast".

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Mr Murdoch's 21st Century Fox said it was "considering its options", but "remains committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky".

Stating that it expects the acquisition to generate revenue and cost synergies in the neighborhood of $500 million, Comcast anticipates that the acquisition should close before the end of 2018, subject to approvals.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in February that it was minded to block the deal because it concentrated too much influence over the United Kingdom media industry in the hands of the Murdoch Family Trust - the vehicle by which Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, owns a controlling stake in both that company and in News Corporation, owner of The Sun, the UK's top-selling national newspaper. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand.

Sky is based in London but has strong news and pay-TV operations across Europe and is particularly prized for its sports broadcasting operations, including the English Premier League soccer matches. It will also establish a Sky News editorial board to ensure the channel's independence, keep the United Kingdom headquarters in Osterley for five years and not acquire any majority interest in British newspapers for five years.

Sky's share price rose by over 4% following the announcement - significantly above the £12.50 per share offer by Comcast.

Comcast, which owns cable channels MSNBC and CNBC, argues its approach would escape concerns over media plurality because of its "minimal presence" in United Kingdom media.


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