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Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is facing a fresh complication from an unexpected quarter in its long-cherished drive to wrest full control of Sky, after US cable giant Comcast tabled a rival £22.1bn offer for the business.

The cash offer is significantly higher than the £18.5bn already agreed by Fox for the 61% stake in the business it does not currently possess.

Outlining his motivations behind the audacious move Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said he was drawn to the UK as a ‘great place to do business’ and wished to purchase all of Sky as a springboard for further European growth.

He said: "The UK is and will remain a great place to do business. We already have a strong presence in London and Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for our growth in Europe. We intend to maintain and enhance Sky’s business."

The Competition and Markets Authority is currently investigating Fox’s takeover bid after provisionally declaring that any move toward full ownership of Sky ‘would not be in the public interest’.

Further complications arose in December when Walt Disney confirmed it was looking to purchase the majority of 21st Century Fox itself, including its stake in Sky.