It will take over a year before the Walt Disney Company's acquisition of 20th Century Fox assets makes it through regulation, and that time is allowing Comcast an opportunity to potentially up its competitive bid.
But one Fox executive still prefers going with Disney over Comcast, despite the telecommunications giant's substantially higher offer.
While speaking at Recode's Code Media event on Monday, 21st Century Fox president and Fox Networks group chairman Peter Rice said he thinks his company is "a great fit for Disney."
"We’ve had a speculation-palooza," said Rice in response to the increased Comcast rumors. While he agreed the Fox assets would be a boon for both corporations, he said he believes Disney would be a better fit and that he's excited about the proposed acquisition.
Without the entertainment assets, "New" Fox will focus on its news and sports coverage lanes, and Rice said he thinks "it will be a more disruptive company than people believe."
He said he isn't sure which company he will end up going with, though he could have a choice. It's rumored that Disney would offer him an executive position after the acquisition, and he admitted he could see himself at the smaller Fox as well. "They are gonna be two amazing companies."
While the deal was announced and both companies are waiting to move forward, vertical acquisitions of this magnitude bust be approved by United States regulators so as not to violate anti-trust laws.
That is one of the reasons Fox is rumored to prefer Disney over Comcast, as the telecommunications company's purchase of more entertainment assets could face heavier scrutiny from regulators. Comcast already owns NBC and Universal Pictures.
After AT&T agreed to purchase Time Warner, the Department of Justice sued the company in an effort to halt the acquisition from moving forward — as of now, that deal is in a holding pattern as it works through the courts.
Despite the Murdoch family's intention to sell to Disney, however, should Comcast make another offer they'd likely have to put it up to vote. The Murdochs owns 39% of the company, so it could be difficult to overturn their decision unless Comcast makes a substantially high offer that could sway other owners.
Of course, all of this is speculation until one of two things happens: either Comcast puts in another bid, or the regulators decide whether to approve the deal. Until then, it's business as usual.