Cox Communications Inc. stock soared for the second day in a row after it was
disclosed that Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates more than doubled his
holdings in the company.
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late
Monday, Gates -- through his personal investment vehicle, Cascade Investment
LLC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable organization he
controls -- has increased his personal holdings in Cox stock to 33.5 million
According to the SEC documents, Cascade held 24.3 million Cox shares and the
foundation had about 9.2 million, for a total of about 5.8 percent of Cox's
outstanding stock. In an SEC statement earlier this year, Gates disclosed that
he held about 13.5 million shares of Cox stock through both Cascade and the
The news appeared to have an effect on Cox stock, which rose as high as
$27.82 per share Tuesday (up $1.52, or 6 percent) before closing at $27, up 3
percent, or 70 cents. This was the second day of gains for Cox -- its shares
closed at $26.30 Monday, up $2.38 each.
Based on Tuesday's close, Gates' holdings in Cox are worth about $904.5
Other cable stocks also appeared to be affected: Cablevision Systems Corp.
was up 16 percent, or $1.29, to $9.05 per share; Charter Communications Inc. was
up 21 cents to $3.82; Comcast Corp. rose 57 cents to $21.17; Insight
Communications Co. Inc. was up 50 cents to $9.30; and Mediacom Communications
Corp. increased 74 cents to $6.01. Rounding out the sector were AOL Time Warner
Inc. (up 82 cents to $12.40) and AT&T Corp. (up 26 cents to $10).
Gates is no stranger to cable -- Microsoft invested about $1 billion in
Comcast Corp. in 1998 and agreed to buy $5 billion in convertible preferred
stock of AT&T Corp. in 1999.
Most recently, it was rumored to be backing Cox in its failed bid for
AT&T Broadband last year. AT&T Broadband agreed to be acquired by
Comcast in December -- the merger is expected to close by the end of the year --
and Microsoft agreed to convert its preferred stake into 115 million common
shares of AT&T Comcast Corp.