Sky has recommended that its shareholders accept the £30 billion takeover approach from US cable giant, Comcast.

"As the price of the Comcast Offer is materially superior, it is in the best interests of all Sky shareholders to accept the Comcast Offer," Sky said in a statment to the stock exchange.

"Accordingly, the Independent Committee unanimously recommends that Sky shareholders accept the Comcast Offer, and in order to ensure the successful closing of the Comcast Offer, and given the possibility of a delisting of Sky in the near future, urges shareholders to accept immediately."

The deadline for acceptance of the offer is October 11th.

Comcast bid £17.28 a share for control of London-listed Sky during the auction, bettering £15.67 a share offer by Fox, the Takeover Panel said in a statement shortly after final bids were made today.

Comcast's final offer was significantly higher than its bid going into the auction of £14.75, and compares with Sky's closing share price of £15.85 yesterday.

The quick-fire auction marks a dramatic climax to a protracted transatlantic bidding battle that has waged ever since February, when cable giant Comcast gate-crashed Fox's takeover of Sky.

It is a blow to 87-year-old media mogul Murdoch and the US media and entertainment group that he controls, which already holds 39% of Sky and had been trying to take full ownership of the business since December 2016.

Comcast has had its sights set on Sky, Europe's biggest pay-TV company, ever since Walt Disney Co beat it to most of Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox assets in July.

Some analysts, however, said that Comcast's bid in the rare blind auction was driven by an urgent need to build scale to defend against the threat posed by streaming services Netflix and Amazon.

"The price being paid for Sky is shocking, but it is a clear sign that legacy media companies are desperate for scale in a world dominated by tech platform giants," said Richard Greenfield, technology and media analyst at research firm BTIG.

Explaining the basis of big media's rush to merge, Greenfield likened it to the opening scene in the documentary "March of the Penguins".

"The penguins huddle to survive winter. With Disney/Fox and Comcast/Sky, it's penguins huddling. Winter is still coming," he said, referring to the advance of tech players such as Amazon.

Sky would reduce Comcast's reliance on its mature US market by opening the door to Europe, where pay-TV penetration is at about 30% and rising.

The deal would also transform Comcast into the world's largest pay-TV operator with 52 million customers and lift the proportion of its non-US revenue to about 20% from about 9%, based on 2017 full-year figures.

Comcast is paying a high price - more than double Sky's share price before Fox made its approach in December 2016.

But analysts said that a favourable result in the English Premier League soccer rights auction - Sky's biggest expense - during the takeover saga had made the business more valuable.