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March 26, 2018

Reade Brower to own all Maine dailies except BDN

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
The Times Record, an afternoon daily in Brunswick, is one of two daily newspapers that will be purchased by Reade Brower in an acquisition scheduled to close on April 1. When the deal closes, which includes the Journal Tribune in Biddeford and several Mainely Media weekly publications, Brower will own six of Maine's seven daily newspapers.

Maine publications owned by Reade Brower's RFB Enterprises

According to Friday's announcement in the Journal Tribune, RFB Enterprises owns the following print and online publications and printing services in Maine: MaineToday Media (Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, Coastal Journal); Sun Media Group (Lewiston Sun Journal, Forecaster/Current Newspapers, Franklin Journal, Livermore Falls Advertiser, Penobscot Times, Advertiser-Democrat Norway, Bethel Citizen, Rumford Falls Times, Rangeley Highlander, Maine Women Magazine, My Generation, 95 North); Courier Publications (Courier Gazette in Rockland, Camden Herald, Belfast Republican); VillageSoup.com, Free Press Rockland, RFB Print Co-Op, Alliance Press and specialty publications including travelMaine, TREB (The Real Estate Books) of Mid-Coast Maine, Portland and Portsmouth, N.H.

In a deal that's expected to close on April 1, Reade Brower will become owner of all but one of Maine's seven daily newspapers. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Under the corporate name of RFB Enterprises, Brower bought the Sun Media Group in July 2017, picking up the Lewiston Sun Journal and several weekly newspapers and magazines in the acquisition, a little more than two years after buying MaineToday Media, which owns the Portland Press Herald, Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal and The Coastal Journal newspapers. On Friday he announced he will acquire from Sample News Group two more Maine dailies, The Times Record in Brunswick and the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, as well as the Mainely Media weekly publications.

That will leave the Bangor Daily News, owned by Richard Warren, as the only remaining Maine daily outside of Brower's ownership control.

In a prepared statement published Friday in the Journal Tribune, Brower said the soon-to-be-acquired publications will become part of Alliance Press, a commercial printer owned by Brower in Brunswick that's located in the same complex as The Times Record.

"This is a deal based on common sense," said Brower, who is RFB Enterprises' president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "We've been printing Sample's Maine properties for years at both Alliance Press and at the MaineToday Media printing facility in South Portland. The Portland Press Herald and Mainely Media recently partnered on a TMC effort in select zips. This transaction is a natural extension of the work we have already begun."

Sample News Group publishes 75 publications across six states and is headquartered in Pennsylvania, according to the announcement in the Journal Tribune.

"We have greatly enjoyed newspapering in Maine for nearly 20 years," said George Sample, president of Sample News Group. "But in today's rapidly changing environment, having a larger scale with more resources is necessary for the growth of the papers and our employees. Reade is a true believer and innovator in community journalism and has the focus on the needs of these communities. We are thankful for the efforts of our many great employees who have worked tirelessly to produce good local newspapers."

The Bangor Daily News reported that Sample News Group, in a separate deal, will buy two Vermont newspapers — the Rutland Herald and Times Argus newspapers, along with two weekly newspapers and associated websites — from Vermont Community Media. The BDN reported that Brower is a partner in Vermont Community Media with businessman Chip Harris of New Hampshire.

Dipayan Ghosh, a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, told the BDN that there were pluses and minuses to the increased consolidation of Maine's media under Brower's ownership.

"As a general matter, whenever we see the consolidation of media, especially in communities like Maine, we see a tremendous bottleneck in the way information is produced and published," the BDN reported him saying. "In a sense, it is one organization that controls everything and how it is presented to the public. The upside is there could be a greater efficiency in the way news is produced, and more partnerships to collaborate on reporting across the state."

Read more

Brower launches Masthead Maine network linking his media companies

Press Herald owner adds Sun Journal to portfolio

Duo including MaineToday owner purchasing Vermont newspapers

MaineToday Media sells longtime South Portland location

New owner of MaineToday Media completes acquisition, rehires majority of employees

MaineToday Media announces initial layoffs

Newspaper owner plans Midcoast TV station

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