Reade Brower, who already owns six of Maine’s seven daily newspapers and many more weeklies, has purchased two additional weekly papers in Hancock County.

The Ellsworth American reported Wednesday that Brower, of Rockland, purchased that paper and its sister paper, the Mount Desert Islander, from longtime owner Alan Baker. Details of the sale, which closes on Aug. 31, were not disclosed.

“The Ellsworth American has a long legacy of excellence and the Mount Desert Islander complements that legacy providing its own quality, award-winning journalism,” Brower told the paper. “Who wouldn’t want them in the family?

Collectively, the two weeklies have a staff of 60 employees and a combined print circulation of nearly 13,000.

The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander will continue to operate independently and will not become part of MaineToday Media, which publishes the Press Herald and other papers, or Sun Media Group, which oversees the Lewiston Sun Journal and others.

“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.”

Baker, who turns 89 next week, told the paper he was comfortable with the decision.

“The American and Islander folks have been my surrogate family these past 32 years,” he said. “And I have been extraordinarily proud of their weekly efforts to report on the people and activities of Hancock and nearby Washington County communities.”

The Ellsworth American was transformed in the 1960s by former publisher James Russell Wiggns, a one-time Washington Post editor, into one of the most well-respected papers in the state. Baker has continued that legacy.

“Alan has upheld the journalistic standards of the Wiggins years while supporting our newspapers’ journey into the 21st century,” Terry Carlisle, the general manager of both papers, told the Ellsworth American.

This story will be updated.


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