Altice USA Buys Digital News Service Cheddar for $200M

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Cheddar founder and CEO Jon Steinberg

The youth-skewing business news startup is set to bolster the news offerings for Altice USA.

Altice USA has signed a deal to buy the youth-skewing business news startup Cheddar for $200 million in cash.

The acquisition will bolster the broadband and cable giant's Altice News service as Cheddar offers youth-skewing news content around business, technology, culture and politics. Altice USA last year began offering Cheddar via its Altice One platform and was an early investor in the digital-first company.

“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 Tuesday in a statement.

Jon Steinberg, who founded Cheddar after serving as president and COO of BuzzFeed for four years to 2014, will become president of Altice News. In that role, Steinberg will oversee Cheddar and Altice USA's News 12 Networks and i24 News offerings.

Cheddar live broadcasts its finance and business programming from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and struck a streaming deal with Twitter to reach a younger professional audience. And Altice USA News already partners with Cheddar on programming like News 12 on seven stations in the NY tristate area and the daily Cheddar Tech Report, while i24 News runs stories from Cheddar as part of its global news coverage.

"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" Goei added.

The transaction is expected to close within two months, pending regulatory approval.

The Cheddar networks are available in around 40 million pay TV homes through MVPDs, including YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu Live and DirecTV NOW. Cheddar currently airs 19 hours a day of live news through Cheddar Business, a business news network, and Cheddar News, a general news and headline news network.

The company also owns the CheddarU network of 1,600 screens in the public spaces of 600 college campuses, and Cheddar owns and operates the site RateMyProfessors.com, where over 5 million students can rate and review their professors.

Cheddar’s streaming viewership is focused on a 25- to 34-year-old demo, and the company recently expanded distribution with carriage agreements signed with Comcast, Charter and Altice USA.