Tuesday, July 27, 1999

"Managers are like cats in a litter box. They instinctively shuffle things around to conceal what they've done."

-- Scott Adams    

Latest Market Numbers

Cox to Buy More Cable

Highly acquisitive cable TV company Cox Communications (NYSE: COX) plans to buy the cable TV assets of Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI) for $2.7 billion in cash, The Wall Street Journal reported. Under the deal, Cox would pay $5,100 a subscriber for about 525,000 cable subscribers in Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Carolina.

The price per subscriber would set a new high in the rapidly consolidating cable industry, but in this case, Cox would be getting systems that largely have been upgraded to handle interactive TV, high-speed access, and telephone service. Cox would also get about $350 million in tax savings, according to the Journal.

Cox has been quietly expanding its cable empire. Early this month, it agreed to exchange its AT&T (NYSE: T) stock in return for AT&T cable systems that serve around 495,000 customers and other consideration including cash. In May, Cox announced it would acquire TCA Cable TV (Nasdaq: TCAT) with its 883,000 subscribers for $63.89 per share, or $4 billion, in cash and stock.

News to Go

Online auction site eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) reported second-quarter earnings, before charges, of $0.04 a share compared with $0.05 a year ago and analysts' mean estimate of $0.03. The company generated revenues of $49.5 million, a 154% gain from $19.5 million last year, despite having to pay out $3.9 million in credits to users for the June 10th site outage.

Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) said it will offer U.S. customers free Internet access when they buy a PC. The program offers one year of Dell's new Internet service, called Dellnet, to customers who buy a Dell Dimension PC, which sells for $959 or more. Dell's service is being provided in conjunction with MCI WorldCom's (Nasdaq: WCOM) UUNet, a leading Internet "backbone" company.

Entercom Communications (NYSE: ETM), the nation's sixth-largest radio company, signed a letter of intent to buy 43 radio stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) for $821.5 million in cash, more than doubling its stations. Entercom also agreed to buy $5 million worth of advertising time on Sinclair's TV stations in the next five years.

Broadband Internet communications company Qwest Communications International (Nasdaq: QWST) turned in second-quarter earnings of $0.02 a share compared with a loss of $0.04 last year (before charges). Analysts had expected earnings of $0.01 a share.

More Foolishness

Don't miss the Fool's Midyear Review 1999. We cover AT&T and the battle for broadband, Internet stocks, Winners and Losers, and more... Shipping giant UPS makes TMF Puck's wish come true by announcing plans to go public and letting her talk to the CEO... Check out a StockTalk interview with the CEO of DoubleClick.

Also, check out the Lunchtime News at 12:30 p.m. for updates on the top stories of the day, and remember to start each business day with Breakfast With the Fool at 9 a.m.

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Yi-Hsin Chang (TMF Puck), Writer
Jennifer Silber (TMF Amused), Editor