Altice USA Buys Digital News Startup Cheddar for $200 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Altice USA, the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, agreed to pay $200 million for the news startup Cheddar, an online channel that appeals to the younger audiences abandoning traditional TV.

Altice, which provides video, internet and phone service to about 4.9 million customers under the names Optimum and Suddenlink, has a news division that includes the News 12 Networks, covering communities around New York City. It also operates an international news channel called i24News.

Cheddar’s programming appear in gyms and cafeterias on college campuses, and reaches 40 million homes that subscribe to pay TV, according to a statement Tuesday. It’s also on free services popular with cord cutters, like Pluto and the Roku Channel.

Altice was already an investor in Cheddar, which was started in 2016 by former BuzzFeed Chief Operating Officer Jon Steinberg as an online business news channel for millennials. Last year, Cheddar raised $22 million from investors like Raine Ventures, Liberty Global Plc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Existing investors included Lightspeed Venture Partners, Comcast Corp., AT&T Inc., the New York Stock Exchange and Amazon.com Inc.

Cheddar has two networks, one focused on business news and another on general news. Though it began online, Steinberg often found creative ways to distribute the channel more broadly. He cut deals so Cheddar could appear on screens at gas stations or air its programming on digital UHF stations like channel 42.5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

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