Published On: Wed, Jun 3rd, 2015

Sale of Donald Sussman’s Newspaper Group Completed, New Owner Rehires Majority of Staff

Since 2012 Sussman invested $13 million in hiring new talent, upgrading facilities

donald-sussman-paloma-fund

The sale of Maine’s largest newspaper group,  which includes Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and weekly Coastal Journal newspapers, by philanthropist and hedge fund manager Donald Sussman to MTM Acquisitions was completed this week.

Reade Brower, who controls MTM Acquisition, has assured that he aims to build further on the newspapers group’s reputation for independent investigative reporting — earned over the last three years. Brower described the move as a change in stewardship rather than a mere “sale” preposition. The acquisition would not result in layoffs for current employees. About 98 percent of the employees have been retained at existing wages and benefits, including the newspaper group’s present CEO Lisa DeSisto.

Despite rising competition from online news services, the Portland-based newspaper group has seen a consistent rise in circulation of its daily and weekly editions.

“MTM has the right idea that giving content away for free online is not a viable business model, ” Brower was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “The strength in the circulation results demonstrates there is an audience willing to pay to access quality journalism. Our plan will be to build on this successful approach.”

The Brower-lead company paid an undisclosed amount for the group of Maine-based newspapers to 69 year-old billionaire financier Donald Sussman, who rescued the newspapers from bankruptcy in 2012. In the subsequent three years, Susskind invested $13 million in the hiring of talent and the upgrading of infrastructure.

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