Altice USA to Buy Cheddar for $200M

Altice USA said it has agreed to purchase digital news service Cheddar for $200 million. The deal is expected to close in the next two months.

Cheddar networks are available in about 40 million pay tv homes through traditional MVPDs, all virtual MVPDS (YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu Live, DirecTV Now), free tv systems (Pluto, Roku Channel), and a campus network of 1,600 owned and operated screens on 600 campuses.

Cheddar currently broadcasts 19 hours a day of live news through two networks -- Cheddar Business and Cheddar News, a general news and headline news network geared toward younger viewers.

The company also owns the CheddarU network -- about 1,600 screens located in the public spaces (gyms, cafeterias, student unions) of 600 college campuses -- and website, where over 5 million students go to rate and review their professors each month.

“Cheddar has demonstrated an innovative approach to live news while building an engaged audience, solid followership and a strong brand," Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said in a press release. "As one of Cheddar’s early investors, we have enjoyed our partnership with Jon and admire the entrepreneurial spirit, energy and smart disruptive mentality that he brings to the news business. The Cheddar culture and mindset are the perfect fit for Altice USA, and we’re excited to welcome Jon and the Cheddar team to the Altice family. We look forward to seeing our growing news team continue to deliver the best content for our viewers and more opportunities for our advertisers."

Jon Steinberg (l)  and Dexter Goei (r)

Jon Steinberg (l)  and Dexter Goei (r)

Cheddar joins Altice USA News, Altice’s hyperlocal and global news offerings that include News 12 Networks, and international and current affairs news network i24NEWS. As part of the deal, Cheddar founder and CEO Jon Steinberg will join Altice USA to lead Altice News.

Altice USA News currently partners with Cheddar on relevant programming: News 12 airs the daily Cheddar Tech Report on its seven stations in the NY tri-state area and i24NEWS runs top stories from Cheddar as part of its global news coverage.

Under Altice USA News, Cheddar will continue to expand its live advertising products currently serving national brands and will bring additional scale and local targeting to these offerings via dynamic ad insertion into News 12 and i24NEWS inventory. Cheddar also anticipates developing and deploying additional advertising products across the Altice footprint, namely on its advanced Altice One and a4 advertising platform.

“Our goal is to make Altice News a leader in local, business, national, and international news everywhere as we look to build a live news offering for customers in the traditional pay TV ecosystem, as well as those looking to a la carte alternative SVOD services, vMVPDs, and free systems for their non-news entertainment,” Steinberg said in a press release. “The Altice team and Altice Way are as entrepreneurial as it gets with amazing markets, world-class local and international news, an amazing broadband network, and a soon to launch mobile offering. I can’t wait for Cheddar to begin working with Altice’s team.”

LionTree Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Cheddar, and Cooley served as legal counsel to Cheddar.