PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The sale of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and weekly Coastal Journal newspapers by financier and philanthropist Donald Sussman to MTM Acquisition was completed on Monday.
Media executive Reade Brower, who controls MTM Acquisition, said he aims to build on the MaineToday Media newspapers' success of watchdog and investigative reporting over the past three years, a period in which Sussman spent $13 million to hire reporters and editors, buy new equipment and make other improvements.
Jobs were offered to 98 percent of employees at the same wages and benefits, and CEO Lisa DeSisto will stay in place and remain responsible for day-to-day operations, Brower said.
Financial details were not released.
Brower, of Camden, said MaineToday Media's newspaper circulation has grown 3.3 percent on weekdays and 3 percent on Sundays despite the addition of a paywall for online subscribers.
"MTM has the right idea that giving content away for free online is not a viable business model," Brower said in a statement. "The strength in the circulation results demonstrates there is an audience willing to pay to access quality journalism. Our plan will be to build on this successful approach."
Brower, who owns four other weekly newspapers, said his near-term focus will be reducing printing costs. The Press Herald has a modern building in South Portland, but the printing presses are expensive to operate, he said.
Brower said previously that the company must either replace the outdated presses in South Portland or move the printing operation to Brunswick, where his Alliance Press company is located.
This story has been corrected to show the media executive's surname is Brower, not Bower.