BETHPAGE, N.Y. (AP) — New York-area cable company Cablevision Systems Corp. doubled its earnings in the second quarter due to assets sales, and saw its stock caught up in a wild day of trading for cable stocks.

Cablevision, the country's fifth-largest cable company, on Friday posted net income of $135.4 million, or 51 cents per share, in the April to June period. That compares with net income of $63.5 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding the effects of several asset sales, Cablevision's net income was 11 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet were on average expecting earnings of 4 cents per share on that basis.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $1.57 billion due to the asset sales at the Bethpage, N.Y., company. When excluding the sold-off assets from year-ago figures, revenue rose 0.8 percent.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting revenue of $1.58 billion.

On July 1, Cablevision sold Bresnan Cable, or Optimum West, a division that serves 300,000 subscribers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, to Charter Communications Inc. for $1.63 billion. Cablevision bought Bresnan in 2010 for $1.4 billion.

Cablevision excluded Bresnan from its second-quarter revenue tally, even though it owned the division through the end of the quarter.

Excluding Bresnan, Cablevision lost 4,000 pay-TV subscribers in the quarter, to end at 2.87 million.

Cablevision also sold most of its movie theaters in the quarter to a family-owned operator.

Meanwhile, Cablevision shares jumped after Bloomberg News reported that Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable company, has been in talks to merge with privately held Cox Communications, the third-largest. That sent down shares of No. 2 Time Warner Cable, which had earlier been reported to be in talks with Charter. Cablevision investors appeared to be betting that the company, which has made clear that it's not interested in buying, may be an acquisition target.

In afternoon trading, Cablevision shares were up 60 cents, or 3.2 percent, at $19.25. The day's high of $20.16 was the highest level in two years.

 

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