updated 8/2/2004 8:12:20 AM ET 2004-08-02T12:12:20

Cox Enterprises Inc. announced a $7.9 billion proposal Monday to buy all outstanding publicly held shares of Cox Communications Inc. in a bid to take the cable-television provider fully private.

Atlanta-based Cox Communications is the nation’s fourth-largest cable company with about 6.3 million customers. The proposed move would make Cox Communications a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, which is a private company.

Under the proposal, Cox Enterprises, which already owns about 62 percent of Cox Communications, would pay $32 a share to take control of the remaining 38 percent of the cable provider.

The $32 price for share’s of Cox Communications is 16 percent higher than the stock’s Friday close of $27.58.

“Our proposal represents an excellent opportunity for (Cox Communications) shareholders, giving them the ability to receive a meaningful premium to recent trading values,” Cox Enterprises Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James C. Kennedy said in a news release.

Cox, which operates in 15 states, has managed to transform itself from a traditional cable operator into a provider of TV, telephone and high speed Internet services. In 1997, it became one of the first cable companies to offer phone service and today sells phone service to more than 1.1 million customers.

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