Sun Media Group has agreed to sell its assets to SJ Acquisition, a company controlled by RFB Holdings, which also owns MaineToday Media, Alliance Press in Brunswick and Courier Publications, based in Rockland. The sale is scheduled to close on Aug. 1 according to John Cribb and Randy Cope of Cribb, Greene & Cope who is representing the Costello family. Sun Media Group will remain Maine owned and focused on serving the community with exceptional journalism.
“After four generations of family ownership, selling Sun Media Group was a difficult decision for the Costello family,” said Steve Costello, Vice President of Advertising and Marketing, on behalf of the entire Costello family. “The decision was made after many discussions by the family, together with our outside board of directors, and we determined that the company could best succeed in an organization with broader resources and reach.”
Costello said “Reade Brower, owner of RFB Holdings, shares our belief in a bright future for the community newspaper business, one that includes printed products as well as exciting new products and services made possible in our continually evolving digital world.”
Sun Media Group has grown from one daily newspaper based in Lewiston to owning and operating 17 publications, including the Sun Journal, the Forecasters and Current Publications, American Journal, Lakes Region Weekly, Advertiser Democrat in Norway, Rumford Falls Times, The Bethel Citizen, The Franklin Journal, Livermore Falls Advertiser, The Rangeley Highlander, The Penobscot Times, Maine Women Magazine, 95 North and My Gen magazines. Sun Press, a commercial printing division, is also part of Sun Media Group.
“Our family takes great pride in our award-winning publications and in the talented and dedicated employees with whom we have worked through the generations. We are also enormously thankful for the support and loyalty of our readers through the years,” Costello said.
“We have been committed stewards of Sun Media Group and we felt strongly that the new owner needed to reflect our community journalism values as well as the responsibility we feel to our employees and the communities we serve. We found what we believe to be the best fit in RFB Holdings, a strong, Maine-owned company with similar values and the resources and expertise to maintain and develop what we have built.”
“It is an honor to become the next steward of the Sun Media Group brands as I have great respect for the Costello family” said Reade Brower. “We are focused on a smooth transition and pledge to continue the traditions established by four generations of the Costello family serving readers and the community.”
Lisa DeSisto, current CEO/Publisher of MaineToday Media, will also serve as CEO for Sun Media Group. “We have been collaborating with Sun Media Group for years in printing, distribution and digital services. This acquisition gives Sun Media Group and MaineToday Media even more opportunities to collaborate while maintaining the distinct and trusted brands of each company. We are excited to work the Sun Media Group team to see all we can accomplish together.”
“Throughout our four generations of family newspaper ownership,” Costello continued, “we have appreciated the privilege of serving the communities of Central and Southern Maine, and we continue to be extremely grateful for their support. By combining the resources available at Sun Media Group and RFB Holdings, community news, community sports, digital platforms and advertising services will be enhanced with expanded coverage throughout the region.”
John Cribb and Randy Cope of Cribb, Greene & Cope represents the Costello family. Cribb, Greene & Cope is a merger and acquisition firm with offices in Montana, Virginia, and Missouri.