Today's regulatory approval of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is expected to kick off a serious bidding war between Disney and Comcast for 21st Century Fox. However, that isn't stopping Fox executives from joking about the situation.
According to Deadline, Fox opened their CineEurope presentation with a video featuring President of International Theatrical Distribution Andrew Cripps and President of International Marketing Kieran Breen packing for their trip to Barcelona, Spain where the event took place. At the end of it, the pair reached into their suitcases with Breen pulling out a pair of Mickey Mouse ears while Cripps pulled out a Comcast t-shirt, humorously taking faux sides in the battle for who will purchase Fox.
It's a humorous nod, but impending bidding war is very serious and very real. Following news of AT&T's greenlight, Wall Street analysts are expecting Comcast to make a play for Fox as early as Wednesday and Fox's stock jumped 7% in after-hours trading as a response while Disney's fell modestly.
"All hell's going to break loose on the Disney-Fox deal," investment banker Lloyd Grief predicted in an earlier report from Deadline. "Should be interesting, although I certainly wouldn't count Disney out."
Disney and Fox first reached an agreement for Disney to purchase Fox back in November, but the deal has not yet been signed off on by stockholders. Since then, it's been suggested that Comcast is planning an all-cash offer for Fox -- Disney's current offer is all-stock -- and now Disney's lock on Fox doesn't look so certain. Rupert Murdoch is said to be interested in Comcast's offer as he would prefer to do business with the highest bidder.
Of course, Disney isn't down yet, and a bidding war still could be prevented. Disney is said to have been preparing financing to include cash as part of their offer, a mix that could ultimately end up being more attractive though at this point it's anyone's guess as to how this will all unfold.
For Marvel fans, the outcome of the Disney/Fox deal is no joking matter, either. It has major implications as a merger between the two companies would see Marvel Studios reacquire the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchise that have been under Fox's control for decades.
Keep checking ComicBook.com for the latest updates in the Fox acquisition.