Media Moves

Brower, owner of Maine’s six dailies, may sell holdings

April 4, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

The following excerpt was sent out from

Reade Brower (Photo:

The owner of five of Maine’s six daily newspapers, including the Sun Journal, Portland Press Herald and dozens of weekly publications from York to Hancock County, announced in a memo to employees Thursday he’s exploring selling his media holdings.

Reade Brower, 66, explained that at his age it’s time to think about either selling or partnering with another investor.

“What I want is to find the pathway forward that is best for all the stakeholders including the employees, the readers, the state of Maine as a whole,” he said in the memo. “It is time to begin that phase, without urgency or desperation. This industry is worth saving. It’s worth fighting for. It’s worth finding the next steward to protect and to grow journalism in Maine.”

In a follow-up interview, Brower said he hadn’t planned on sending a memo at this time but felt compelled to respond to rumors and inquiries from other media outlets.

“There is really nothing to tell at this point other than I’m a 66-year-old person who owns a company and needs a succession plan because I don’t have one,” he said.

Memos to employees from Brower, who has owned the Press Herald for nearly eight years, are rare. He has been a hands-off owner who is rarely seen in the newsrooms he owns and doesn’t exert influence over editorial decisions. In interviews about his ownership, Brower has said that he feels a responsibility to be a steward of the newspapers he owns because they are vital to the communities they serve, but he also has said he didn’t buy them to lose money.

Lisa DeSisto, chief executive officer of Masthead Maine, the name of Brower’s collective publications, and the publisher of the Press Herald and other papers, said she doesn’t think Brower’s announcement comes as a surprise and she’s hopeful that whatever comes next will not disrupt the company. She also praised his leadership.

“I think Reade has been very hands off through his ownership,” she said. “He’s let everyone run their own business, and we’ve done a really good job for him.”

Brower purchased MaineToday Media, the parent company of the Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, from financier S. Donald Sussman in April 2015.

Since Brower took over, he has expanded his media holdings further, acquiring the Sun Media Group – the parent company of the Lewiston Sun Journal and several weekly newspaper chains – in 2017 and adding the Times Record in Brunswick and the Journal Tribune in Biddeford in 2018, and then two weeklies, the Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander, later that year.

Brower hinted in his memo to employees that a nonprofit option could be considered.

Asked whether he has been approached by buyers, Brower said he has but didn’t offer specifics. He said although there are no guarantees, his goal is to find a buyer or partner with a similar outlook.

Read more here.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.