Comcast went public with the proposal to trigger the regulatory timetable because timing will be a key factor. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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U.S. cable giant Comcast has offered $31 billion for Sky, threatening a plan hatched by Rupert Murdoch's Fox and Bob Iger's Walt Disney to seize control of Europe's biggest pay-TV group.Disney has agreed to buy Sky from 21st Century Fox, along with other assets, in a separate $52 billion follow-up deal.Iger is also a long time rival after Comcast tried and failed to buy Disney in 2004 .Comcast's appearance in the already complex Sky drama could prompt a higher Fox offer, Disney making its own direct bid for Sky or Comcast emerging as the unexpected victor.Comcast bid $60 billion last year to clinch a deal with Murdoch's Fox, before losing out to Disney.Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, a former son-in-law of Murdoch who holds 1 percent of Sky, said he expected a counter offer and speculated whether Disney could make a direct bid for Sky to avoid Fox's regulatory problems.Seeking to prove it would not influence Sky News in the future, Fox last week promised to maintain and fund a fully independent Sky-branded news service for 10 years.
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