The Stakes Just Got Higher in the 21st Century Fox v

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Disney said in June it is offering more than $71 billion for Fox's entertainment businesses in a counterbid to Comcast's almost $66 billion offer.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall issued a report today noting that, with the bid for Sky, Comcast may be choosing sides as the cable giant simply can't afford both acquisitions.

It's said that the new $38-a-share price is about $10 a share higher than the original offer from Disney back in December, and it's also $3 above Comcast's most recent bid.

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On Wednesday the battle for Sky escalated, with Comcast offering a £26bn deal less than a day after 21st Century Fox increased its offer to £24.5bn. Topping Comcast's 12.50 pounds a share. According to some shareholders, that has set an implied higher floor for Sky's shares. Sky is a pawn in a wider contest between Comcast and Walt Disney Co. for the bulk of Murdoch's media empire, as the U.S. media giants try to take on powerful digital rivals like Netflix Inc.

The world's biggest entertainment company and owner of NBC and Universal Pictures gate-crashed Murdoch's bid for Sky in February.

The pursuit for Sky is meanwhile further complicated by a battle between Walt Disney and Comcast for key assets of 21st Century Fox.

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Hedge funds including Elliott have bought into Sky in recent months and other vocal shareholders such as Crispin Odey have demanded that the independent directors secure a better deal.

"We welcome this increased offer", Martin Gilbert, deputy chairman of Sky, said in an emailed statement.

Regulators are concerned that Fox's ownership of Sky News would give Murdoch and his family too much influence over United Kingdom media. News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after.

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He said, "Having taken over as the Secretary of State with responsibility for media public interest cases I have reviewed the process regarding the proposed merger between 21st Century Fox (21CF) and Sky Plc (Sky)". The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.

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