The Board of Directors of MaineToday Media, whose media properties include the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, The Coastal Journal, PressHerald.com, CentralMaine.com and MaineToday.com, has approved the sale of the company to MTM Acquisition Inc., a company controlled by Midcoast media executive Reade Brower.

Brower owns Courier Publications LLC, which he formed in 2012 to purchase the remaining assets of the folded Village Net Media; The Free Press; and RFB Advertising LLC, which produces several niche publications.

The closing is scheduled for June 1. The sale was announced to MTM staff late Tuesday afternoon, April 28, after the decision was made and notice was given to the company’s labor unions.

When Maine Values LLC, a company controlled by Donald Sussman, first agreed in 2012 to invest in MTM, the stated intention was to ensure the company survived and continued its role in the community. Sussman invested more than $13 million to expand the Portland newsroom, hire a marketing team, build a digital development team and upgrade every underlying system that supports the organization. MTM has increased circulation and enabled a web paywall strategy.

In addition to the broader industry challenges all newspapers are facing, two major challenges particular to MTM have impeded its path forward: outstanding debt inherited when Maine Values LLC acquired the papers; and the cost of printing the papers on expensive, aging presses. The sale to MTM Acquisition Inc. resolves the balance sheet problem — all proceeds from the sale will go to pay the debt, with the bank receiving the vast majority of the proceeds to retire its loan; and addresses the production challenge by putting the company in the hands of an experienced commercial printer and newspaper operator.

In an era when newspapers are being aggregated by national companies and private investment firms, an important criterion in selecting a new owner for MTM was a devotion to the community, common values, a sense of civic responsibility and a passion for producing a best-in-class newspaper. Among the offers Sussman considered were ones from out of state, and ones offering a larger purchase price. He decided to sell the company to MTM Acquisitions Inc. to keep the company in Maine and because “Reade respects what we have built and appreciates the responsibility of being the steward of our newspaper brands,” according to the notification letter sent to the MTM team.

Brower, who has lived in Maine for more than 35 years, has continuously invested in Maine media properties — most recently VStv, the new local cable news channel that debuted in January. For his comments on the acquisition, see his column linked below and on the op-ed pages of the April 30 edition of the Courier Publications LLC papers.