Cox Enterprises is one of America's leading media groups, with interests in a range of sectors including broadcast TV, telecoms and automotive sales & services. Its biggest and best-known business is Cox Communications, now the country's #3 cable TV provider behind Comcast and Charter, with around 6m residential and commercial subscribers and revenues of almost $12bn in 2018. Cox has a somewhat fragmented footprint spread across 18 states. Its strongest areas of coverage by subscribers are in Arizona, California and Virginia. Separate division Cox Media Group controls a collection of TV and radio stations as well as newspapers, other print media and coupons marketer Valpak. Cox Automotive comprises a range of business information services and solutions for the automotive industry as well as wholesaler Manheim, and consumer services AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book, Manheim and Dealer.com. Combined sales for the family owned group were $21bn in 2018. Group chairman and former CEO James Kennedy is the grandson of James M Cox who founded the business in 1898 at the age of 28 after he purchased his local newspaper the Dayton Evening News. He later became governor of Ohio and launched an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1920. When that he failed he focused his attention on media, moving into radio in the 1930s and later TV and cable. His great-grandson Alex Taylor is now CEO. Pat Esser is CEO of the cable unit Cox Communications.
Capsule checked 6th July 2020
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Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: The UK arm of eBay has agreed to acquire local ecommerce site Motors.co.uk for an undisclosed sum. The business will be absorbed into eBay's Gumtree UK website to enhance its automobile sales operations. The vendor is US media group Cox, also the owner of Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader.com in the US. The sale effectively ends Cox's involvement in direct-to-consumer car sales in the UK. Motors' last filed accounts showed turnover of £14m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Nov 2013: Consolidation within the US cable market looks virtually certain, with Comcast, Cox and Charter Communications - respectively the #1, #3 and #4 by subscribers - all actively weighing up a bid for #2 player Time Warner Cable. Charter appears to be the likeliest buyer, and is said to be lining up $25bn in debt financing for a deal. However such a mountain of debt would weigh heavily on future profitability, and buyer interest has already pushed TWC's market cap to well above that level, to $38bn by midweek, almost three times Charter's own valuation. So the smaller company might opt to pursue a break-up bid in partnership with Comcast, which is keen to fill strategic gaps in its own national coverage. A straight combination of Comcast and TWC would almost certainly be blocked by regulators. However, Charter might offer to surrender TWC's valuable footprint in New York to Comcast, which has no direct presence in Manhattan but serves neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut. Family-controlled Cox has entered the fray late, and is being seen as a potential white knight to help TWC fend off the other two companies' advances.
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