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Southwestern Bell Corp, St Louis, Missouri and the Cox Cable arm of Cox Enterprises Inc, Atlanta yesterday formally announced their agreement to form a UK partnership in cable television and local telephony. Under their memorandum of understanding, Cox will take an initial 25% in the UK operations currently owned by Southwestern Bell, with options to increase its stake; Cox declined to comment on speculation that the deal was worth $300m. According to Reuter, investors have so far spent UKP1,000m running cable past 2m UK homes, signing 440,000 cable TV subscribers. Southwestern owns and operates cable TV and telephone businesses in the Midlands and Northwest covering 1.2m homes; its cables pass 245,000 of those, and it has a penetration rate of 23%.

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