UPDATE 1-Cox in talks about merger with Charter -report
Aug 2 (Reuters) - Cox Communications Inc has held talks about merging with cable provider and rival Charter Communications Inc, Bloomberg cited two people with knowledge of the matter as saying on Friday.
Cox President Pat Esser has discussed a deal with Liberty Media Corp, which owns 27 percent of Charter, Bloomberg cited one of the unidentified sources as saying. Neither party has decided on a potential deal structure, it added.
Representatives from Charter, Liberty Media and Cox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
John Malone's Liberty Media had previously been circling Time Warner Cable Inc. Since Malone, 72, jumped back into the U.S. market with Liberty Media's investment in Charter earlier this year, analysts have predicted a wave of cable consolidation.
Following the news report, Time Warner Cable shares fell 2.4 percent, while Charter rose 4.4 percent. Cablevision, which is perennially viewed as a takeover target, was up 6.1 percent.
The U.S. cable TV market faces rising programming costs as well as technology threats from upstarts such as Netflix Inc , which offers movies and TV shows to subscribers online.