A new restructuring plan finalized today between MaineToday Media and Maine billionaire Donald Sussman gives Sussman 75% ownership in the media company.
In February, Sussman outlined a deal to become a 5% equity partner through a $3.3 million loan to MTM. But as the deal went through its due diligence, investors, including out-of-state pension funds, insisted on changes. Maine Values, Sussman's company, is providing the same money, but as a straight stock purchase, resulting in a 75% ownership of the company, according to a release from MaineToday Media.
"As with any deal, we had to listen to our institutional investors and be responsive to their feedback," said MTM Board of Directors Chairman Peter Brodsky in the release. "They believed the additional debt could have hampered our growth strategy and instead wanted to see a straight stock purchase. This change will make us stronger."
Sussman said in the release he would have preferred the original arrangement, but "at the end of the day…I simply wasn't willing to abandon this important community resource and the hundreds of good jobs that come with it. As I have said all along, I have no interest in being involved in what the news professionals at the company choose to cover, or how they choose to write about it. I'm just happy that the MTM newspaper business is secure and now has a chance to grow."
MaineToday Media publishes the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Morning Sentinel and the Kennebec Journal.