Altice may be looking to offload Cheddar News

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Altice USA is reportedly considering selling Cheddar News, the digital news outlet it bought less than five years ago.

Alice has reportedly signed Goldman Sachs to help it explore its options for Cheddar, including a sale of the property, according to The New York Times reporting.

There has been no final decision on a potential sale, the sources told the Times.

Altice chief Patrick Drahi bet big on Cheddar when he arranged to pay $200 million for it in 2019.

Part of that strategy was to help complement the company’s existing portfolio of regional cable news outlet News 12 Networks.

Originally focused on financial news and targeted toward a younger audience, Cheddar stood out by putting its talent on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and bringing viewers more casual reporting and interviews with big names in finance.

Since then, however, the outlet has evolved into a more general news offering, though it does still cover financial markets. The offering is ad-supported and offers a linear schedule as well as on-demand digital video offerings.

According to the Times, one reason Cheddar may be falling out of favor is that it lacks the lucrative cable and satellite carriage fees because it’s distributed exclusively via digital-only platforms, which range from OTT boxes to screens at gas station pumps and college campus offering.

Overall, Altice has seen its business dip, with shares down around 70%. Altice also sells broadband and cable TV services via its Optimum brand.

Advertising revenue has also fallen. Many TV networks distributed by linear pay TV providers may not be as affected by swings in ad revenue thanks to the often hefty fees those providers pay just for the privilege of carrying a network (that said, it’s not clear how much Cheddar could fetch under a traditional model give a crowded marketplace and that it’s still relatively unknown and unlikely to be able to attract huge viewership, thus decreasing a provider’s incentive for including it in a plan).