NTL and Virgin to double-team Sky

It's all merge, merge, merge in this brave new media world – NTL and Virgin have confirmed that they're in talks that could result in a huge, Sky-riva

It's all merge, merge, merge in this brave new media world – NTL and Virgin have confirmed that they're in talks that could result in a huge, Sky-rivalling multimedia powerhouse.

The bearded one has every right to look pleased with the proposed £800 million deal. It would mean his brand could front NTL's efforts to supply you with what has been described in American football talk as a 'quadruple play' – internet access, TV, fixed-line phone and mobile telephony.

NTL is already in the midst of a $6 billion merger with cable TV firm Telewest, and has got the support of Virgin's network provider T-Mobile for the proposed deal.

While Sky rarely quakes in its boots about anything, Rupert Murdoch is unlikely to be cracking open the champagne at the prospect of facing such a threat. Its recent purchase of broadband provider Easynet suggests it too will be striving to serve up a multimedia club sandwich, although the recent loss of its monopoly of Premier League football matches was a big setback.

The NTL-Virgin deal might be big news for both Sky and the UK's media market, but it's not written in stone yet – a Virgin statement said that an approach 'may or may not lead to a formal offer being made for the company'. We'll keep you posted.