>> A major media battle kicking into high gear Tuesday. US cable giant Comcast making a surprise $31 billion bid for Sky, Europe's biggest pay-TV group. Comcast's CEO, Brian Roberts, hoping to hijack it out of the hands of 86-year-old tycoon Rupert Murdoch, whose 21st Century Fox, which owns roughly 40% of Sky, has been trying to buy the rest.
Reuters Breakingviews columnist John Foley.>> So on the face of it, this is quite annoying for Rupert Murdoch. He was about to try and buy Sky. He's been trying buy Sky for sometime, and now he's got this counterbidder Comcast coming in and making an offer, which is about 16% more generous than Murdoch's own.
>> What's more, Murdock is planning to include Sky in a major asset sale to Disney. Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, had beat Comcast on a deal to scoop up most of Fox's Entertainment and Sports properties, Sky included. Not getting the European TV giant could cause Iger to scrap the deal or lower his price for Fox, which currently stands at $52 billion.
>> The other thing to bear in mind is that these are big personalities, Bob Iger at Disney, Brian Roberts at Comcast and, of course, Rupert Murdoch, who is well into his 80s. These are big personalities. Murdoch, in particular, is not just thinking about the price that he can get for buying and selling.
He's also thinking about what happens to his dynasty. James Murdoch, his son, is the CEO of Fox. And there was talk that if Fox and Disney do the their little merger dance, that James Murdoch may get a really good job in the resulting company. Now that's not likely to happen if Comcast is the one that takes Sky and the Disney-Fox deal falls apart.
>> The news of Comcast's competitive bid sending all stocks involved plummeting Thursday, even its own, with investors worried that Comcast's quest to own Sky may just come at too high of a price.