It’s safe to say that everyone who could conceivably benefit from merging with the No. 2 cable company is taking the idea seriously. And that includes Cox Communications, The Wall Street Journal says this afternoon citing unnamed sources. A deal would make as much sense for Cox as it would for Charter, which has been salivating over TWC. Privately held Cox is the No. 3 operator with about 4.5M video subscribers, a little more than Charter. While federal officials would closely scrutinize any cable deal, Cox and Charter would have an easier time winning approval than would Comcast — the No. 1 operator, and owner of NBCUniversal, which is also eyeing TWC. The big question is whether either Cox or Charter could take on enough debt to swallow all of TWC, which has 11.7M video subs. Given the problems any single company would have handling a deal, some analysts now believe that a combination of cable operators may buy TWC and then divide its systems between them. Cox is in 18 states and its biggest markets include San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Louisiana, Northern Virginia, and Rhode Island.