Reade Brower
Reade Brower
Reade Brower, who started his media rise when he founded The Free Press 30 years ago in Rockland, announced late Tuesday afternoon, April 28, that he is buying MaineToday Media from philanthropist Donald Sussman for an undisclosed sum. The Board of MaineToday Media has approved the sale.

The closing date for the sale is June 1. Brower will complete the sale through his new company, MTM Acquisition, Inc.

MaineToday Media publishes the print editions of the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Portland Press Herald, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, and The Coastal Journal in Bath. MaineToday Media also operates the news websites MaineToday.com, PressHerald.com, and CentralMaine.com.

Brower, a longtime resident of Camden, currently owns The Free Press and Courier Publications - which publishes the Courier-Gazette in Rockland, The Camden Herald, and The Republican Journal in Belfast. Brower also owns RFB Advertising, which publishes several specialty publications, and is a partner in a midcoast TV station that just began operations. In 1992 Brower founded Target Marketing, a statewide direct-mail company based in Rockland, which he sold in 2004.

Brower also owns Alliance Press in Brunswick - a printing press facility, at which, among other print contracts, about 30 Maine newspapers are printed through Brower's print co-op.

Sussman, who saved MaineToday Media from near bankruptcy three years ago, took on that company's newspapers after they had suffered a period of decline through several changes of ownership and, with a new management team headed by CEO Lisa DeSisto, shepherded them back to regaining their standing as major statewide news outlets, spending $13 million to update the business and hire staff in the process. Sussman had said from the outset that his interest was not in owning the company long term, but rather to ensure the newspapers survived and to support the company until it was financially sustainable.

Brower's long experience and wide-ranging expertise in Maine's commercial printing industry plays well in addressing what MaineToday Media has cited as one of its only remaining obstacles to sustainability, which is the company's aging printing presses and consequent expensive production costs.

In a statement announcing the sale, Brower said, "I am looking forward to working with the team at MaineToday Media to build on the solid foundation S. Donald Sussman's investment has created. We are focused on a smooth transition and pledge to continue the tradition of excellence that has been established."

In Brower's internal announcement to employees of his current companies, he stated that, as is the case now, "all papers will remain completely autonomous," and in his note to Free Press employees, he wrote, "The Free Press turns 30 in a few weeks; you are where it all began."