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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox increased Wednesday its bid to take full control of lucrative European pay TV service Sky in a prolonged battle with USA rival Comcast.

Comcast, which made a $65 billion all-cash offer for the Fox assets last month only for Disney to raise its bid, is talking to private equity firms, including Apollo Global Management LLC (APO.N) and Blackstone Group LP (BX.N), to gauge interest about acquiring the RSNs, the sources said.

In a statement Comcast, a $155 billion U.S. cable television giant, said that its latest offer represented a premium of approximately 5.4 per cent to the 21st Century Fox offer, "implying a value of approximately..."

Fox has increased its bid by just over 30% since its first offer in December 2016.

"As the founding shareholder of Sky, we have remained deeply committed to bringing these two organizations together to create a world-class business positioned to deliver the very best entertainment experiences well into the future", Fox said in a statement.

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In order to secure regulatory approval, Fox has agreed to sell Sky's award-winning news channel to Disney to prevent Murdoch from owning too much of the British media.

The terms of Comcast's upcoming new offer could not be learned. Murdoch has a deal to sell Fox's entertainment assets including its Sky stake to Disney, though Comcast is weighing another bid for the Fox portfolio.

A Fox shareholder has filed a lawsuit over Disney's pending acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox's assets, alleging that shareholders have been given misleading or incomplete information before their vote on July 27, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sky's independent directors accepted the latest Fox offer. Both Fox and Disney have scheduled special shareholder meetings for July 27 in NY to approve the cash-and-stock deal to sell $71 billion in Fox assets to Disney.

Should Disney succeed, it will obtain Fox's 39 per cent stake in Sky as part of the package. The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.


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