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Altice USA stock is down 85% since Cheddar deal

Kerry Flynn
Jul 25, 2023
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Altice USA's stock is down 85% since announcing it was acquiring streaming news network Cheddar for $200 million on April 30, 2019.

Why it matters: The telco is now considering offloading Cheddar, The New York Times reported, having hired Goldman Sachs to explore its options.

By the numbers: The stock closed at $23.56 on the day the Cheddar acquisition was announced, and it closed on Monday at $3.45.

  • It's down 91% from its five-year peak of $37.90 on December 29, 2020.

Details: Altice has reported disappointing earnings in recent quarters as it loses subscribers and continues to spend heavily on rolling out its fiber network.

  • Altice reported in May that its revenue was down 5.3% and profit was down 86% in the first quarter compared to the prior year.
  • For the fourth quarter of 2022, Altice reported its revenue was down 6%. Its profit plunged from $194.6 million to a sizable loss of $193.1 million.
  • Altice did not respond to a request for comment.

Flashback: Altice explored its telecom subsidiary, Suddenlink, last spring, which it had acquired for $9.1 billion in 2015.

  • But the company ended those sale talks by the end of the year. Even though CEO Dexter Goei said Suddenlink's footprint may not be the best fit for Altice, the size and price may have deterred potential buyers. It has since rebranded the business to Optimum.

The big picture: Other telecom companies have abandoned their media operations.

  • Verizon sold its digital media unit, which included Yahoo and AOL, to Apollo Global Management in 2021.
  • AT&T spun off WarnerMedia in a merger with Discovery.

Yes, but: Comcast still owns NBCUniversal. The parent company of Axios, Cox Enterprises, has a telecom business.

  • Altice also owns News 12 Networks, a group of regional cable news channels in New York.

The intrigue: It's unclear who would buy Cheddar, especially at the hefty price Altice paid four years ago.

  • Brian Morrissey, author of a Substack newsletter on media called The Rebooting, tweeted in support of Gas Station TV (GSTV), which has a distribution deal with Cheddar. Others, jokingly, agreed. GSTV CEO Sean McCaffrey declined to comment.
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