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July 25, 2018

Reade Brower to buy The Ellsworth American, Mount Desert Islander

Alan Baker, at right, owner of The Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander, announced today that he plans to sell both newspapers to Reade Brower of Rockland. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Maine publications owned by Reade Brower's RFB Enterprises

Prior to today's announcement of his plans to purchase The Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander from Alan Baker, here are the print and online publications and printing services owned by Reade Brower, as reported in the Journal Tribune in March: : 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.

Reade Brower of Rockland plans to add two highly respected Maine weekly newspapers to his growing chain of Maine newspapers, with the purchase announced today of The Ellsworth American and its sister paper, the Mount Desert Islander.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The purchases will put 21 Maine weeklies and six of Maine's seven dailies under his ownership.

The Ellsworth American reported that its owner Alan Baker, 89, who also owns the Mount Desert Islander, announced today that he had entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement for the newspapers with Brower.

"The American and Islander folks have been my surrogate family these past 32 years," Baker said in the Ellsworth American article. "And I have been extraordinarily proud of their weekly efforts to report on the people and activities of Hancock and nearby Washington County communities. This moment is bittersweet, but entirely appropriate. I have known Reade Brower since his publishing success, the Free Press in Rockland. Reade has assembled, and effectively oversees, a diverse group of daily and weekly Maine newspapers."

Brower is owner of six of the state's seven daily newspapers (all but the Bangor Daily News) and 19 Maine weeklies. In March, he announced the acquisition of two Maine dailies from Sample News Group — The Times Record in Brunswick and Journal Tribune in Biddeford — as well as the Mainely Media weekly publications.

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.

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

The Ellsworth American reported today that Brower had long admired Baker and his award-winning publications.

"With Ellsworth and Bar Harbor contiguous to the Courier Group (Belfast Republican Journal, Camden Herald, Rockland Courier-Gazette), it will create many synergies and opportunities for the weekly newspapers along the Downeast and the Midcoast areas," Brower said. "A 'win-win-win' for staff, readers and our advertisers."

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