Murdoch set to directly challenge BBC - Wikimedia Commons

News Corp made a bid to acquire the whole of satellite broadcaster BSkyB, amounting to a sum not far off £12 billion.

But the board of BSkyB shuddered with alarm at the bid which it said was too low.

Most folk think BSkyB is already in the clutches of News Corporation but in fact it only owns 39.1 percent of the broadcaster. The shudder of the BSkyB board is merely a feint - the two companies are still in talks.

News of the deal sent shares of BSkyB rocketing on the Stock Exchange - up over 20 percent.

News Corporation has requested European regulators to examine the deal, should it come to pass. The BBC is probably really shuddering at the thought of the acquisition, because it would place News Corp in a position where its turnover would be close to £9 billion a year.

BSkyB said in a statement that the independent directors, advised by Morgan Stanley and UBS, though the proposal - which isn't a formal offer - undervalue the company. They want News Corp to pay 800 pence a share rather than the 700 pence proposed.  

"The proposal is subject to regulatory and financing pre-conditions which add considerable uncertainty to when and whether any formal offer could be made."

News Corp already owns The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times - all of which backed David Cameron's Conservative Party at the last General Election.