Cox's Esser not interested in T-Mobile buy or going public

Cox Communications is not interested in joining France's Iliad and buying T-Mobile. Ditto on merging with a pay-TV rival and going public.

That was the message delivered Tuesday, Aug. 19, by Cox President Pat Esser, while cornered by Reuters at a Washington, D.C., speaking event.

Patrick Esser

Esser (Source: Cox)

It was reported earlier this month that Cox, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) were in talks with Iliad on a potential joint bid for U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile. But Esser told Reuters that Cox is much more interested in its current Wi-Fi initiatives than entering the cellular business.

"Wireless use of broadband is growing but it's not through traditional cellular services, it's Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is exploding," Esser said. "Wi-Fi is the future ... Connected homes are the future."

He also said the No. 3 cable service in the U.S. wasn't interested in merging with one of its rivals, a move that would entail the privately held Cox going public.

"I would never say we'll never be public in the future," Esser told Reuters. "But right now where the family's at, where [parent company] Cox Enterprises is at, they like being private. We have a very, very healthy balance sheet, we have a lot of capacity and we can do most of that inside of our current balance sheet and still remain private."

Esser was speaking publicly to announce Cox's extension of its Connect2Compete initiative to 2016. The cable company has pledged $15 million to support the initiative, which supports broadband access for students from low-income families.

For more:
- read this Reuters story

Related links:
Cox president: We're not going to bid for T-Mobile
Rumor Mill: Iliad working with Dish, Cox, Charter and others to improve T-Mobile bid
Ergen: Video is vital to wireless industry Dish is determined to join

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