Comcast's offer pits the biggest cable operator in the U.S. against Murdoch's Fox. However, Disney has agreed to buy a string of assets from Fox — including its current 39 percent share of Sky — making the picture more complicated. Disney CEO Bob Iger declined to comment about Comcast's proposal, according to Reuters.
Disney still views Sky as a desirable asset and shared ownership of the company is seen as less than ideal, sources familiar told David Faber.
Late last year, Comcast reportedly approached Fox and expressed an interest to acquire some of its assets. The U.S. cable operator was thought to be interested in the same set of assets that Disney eventually agreed to purchase.
The latest round of major deals comes at a time when traditional cable television networks have been losing customers to streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix.
Fox had already agreed on a deal of 18.5 billion pounds ($25.8 billion at the current exchange rate) to buy the 61 percent stake in the U.K.-based broadcasting group it does not currently own. But last month, the U.K.'s competition authority provisionally found Fox's bid for Sky would not be in the public interest.
The Competition and Markets Authority cited concerns the Murdoch Family Trust would have too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda if the deal went through. It added that spinning off or divesting Sky News, insulating Sky News from Fox's influence, or blocking the deal outright would be possible solutions. However, if Disney's acquisition of the Fox assets go through, that could lessen the Murdoch family's clout in the U.K. and possibly placate the regulator.
In an emailed statement, Sky said its independent directors were mindful of their fiduciary duties and their obligations under the U.K. takeover code, adding that shareholders are being advised to take no action as no firm offer has been made at this point.