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Cox Enterprises Inc. announced Monday a $7.9 billion plan to purchase all publicly held stock of Cox Communications Inc., the fourth-largest cable television provider in the US with 6.3 million subscribers. Cox Enterprises would buy 38 percent of the company for $32 a share, 16 percent higher than the stock's closing price of $27.58 on Friday. The company already owns 62 percent of the cable provider. According to Cox officials, the deal is intended to take Cox Communications private to better compete in "an increasingly competitive environment" for cable, high-speed Internet, and phone services. Both Cox Enterprises and Cox Communications are based in Atlanta.

In the face of terrorist threats to oil production in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, plus uncertainties about the supplies from Russia, South Korea, and other countries, US crude oil futures rose to just below $44 a barrel on Monday, the highest price since oil began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1983. Prices have risen 35 percent in the past year. The US refining system is said to be producing at maximum levels to ensure adequate supplies and Saudi Arabia has committed to easing any shortages by tapping its spare production capacity, according to Bloomberg.com. Still, as a one market analyst told Bloomberg, the geopolitical risk issue has been an underlying theme in the market for close to a year, and is likely to continue to be.

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