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Cable stocks up on acquisition report

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of the country's second, third and fourth-largest publicly listed cable companies jumped Thursday on a report that No. 3 Charter Communications Inc. is interested in buying the other two.

The report from Bloomberg News cited anonymous sources and gave no indication that Charter is close to a deal to buy No. 2 Time Warner Cable Inc. or smaller Cablevision Systems Corp.

Bloomberg said Liberty Media Corp., which owns 27 percent of Charter, is trying to figure out how to win over Time Warner Cable's shareholders. Time Warner Cable's market capitalization is $32 billion, compared to Charter's $13 billion. The disparity makes a deal difficult, and Bloomberg said Time Warner Cable isn't interested in a deal.

Liberty Media is controlled by billionaire John Malone, who has said publicly that he sees Charter as a vehicle for acquisitions.

Shares of New York-based Time Warner Cable rose $4.66, or 4.5 percent, to $108.30 in afternoon trading. The day's high of $112.44 was the highest level since the company split from Time Warner Inc. in 2009.

Cablevision, based in Bethpage, N.Y., rose 81 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $16.23. The day's high of $17.01 was the highest point since October.

Charter shares rose $4.77, or 4 percent, to $123.77. The day's high of $128.57 was the highest since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

Spokesmen for Time Warner Cable and Charter declined to comment. A Cablevision representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.