Comcast and Disney are both bidding for control of Sky. It is part of a bigger battle for the control of Fox, as media companies that might have been considered giant corporations have been overtaken in value by Netflix.

It started in December 2016, when 21st Century Fox made a $15.7 billion bid of £10.75 a share for the 61% of Sky that it did not already own.

In December 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced a $52.4 billion bid for part of 21st Century Fox, including its stake in Sky.

In February 2018, Comcast countered with an offer for Sky at £12.50 a share, valuing Sky at $29.5 billion, making a formal offer in April.

In June 2018, Comcast announced a $65 billion offer to acquire the assets of 21st Fox that Disney had offered to purchase.

Battle for Sky. Source: Bloomberg

With AT&T acquiring Time Warner, which the United States Justice Department had attempted to block on competition grounds, Comcast may be more hopeful of approval of a bid to acquire Fox.

Owning Fox would provide Comcast or Disney with further iconic entertainment assets, as well as majority control of Hulu, the online video service in which they each have a 30% stake.

Sky is seen as a particularly valuable acquisition, with 23 million customers across Europe, providing Comcast and Disney with a rare opportunity to diversify outside the United States and reach more viewers directly.

Pay television is a saturated although still very valuable market in the United States, where subscriber numbers are in slow decline, partly because of the cost of such services there, partly because channels are dominated by interruptive advertising, and partly because online services like Netflix are offering strong competition.

The astonishing market value of Netflix at $165 billion has overtaken Comcast, worth about $148 billion, and Disney at $158 billion. Netflix is expected to spend around $8 billion this year on programming, putting further pressure on traditional studios.