AUGUSTA — A company with ties to billionaire media mogul John Malone plans to buy more than 900,000 acres of forestland in Maine and New Hampshire, in what is thought to be largest land deal in Maine in more than six years.

BBC Land LLC is set to complete the purchase Feb. 1 from current owner GMO Renewable Resources, the Bangor Daily News reported today. The acreage includes large swaths in eastern and western Maine and more than 20,000 acres in New Hampshire.

The new owner will continue to manage the property as a working forest and allow public access for recreation, according to John Cashwell, a local consultant to BBC Land.

Cashwell would not say who was behind BBC Land, but documents filed in Colorado and Maine list John Malone of Englewood, Colo., as the company’s founder.

Malone is chairman of Liberty Media Corp., a Colorado company whose holdings include cable channel QVC, the Atlanta Braves baseball team and Sirius XM satellite radio.

Malone did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Associated Press through Liberty Media. Cashwell did not immediately respond to a telephone message.

Malone has bought tens of thousands of acres of land in Maine in the past, including a parcel of more than 50,000 near Jackman in western Maine in 2002.

When nearly 1 million acres – roughly 5 percent of Maine’s 22 million-acre land base – changes hands, there are concerns that a portion of the land will be converted to development, said Cathy Johnson, the North Woods project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

That said, she’s cautiously optimistic because she’s never heard complaints about how Malone’s other property holdings in Maine have been managed.

“This could potentially be good, depending on what Mr. Malone’s objectives and goals are, but we just don’t know that. It would be wonderful if he turned out to be another Percival Baxter,” she said, referring to a former Maine governor who served from 1921-1925 and donated land to the state that became Baxter State Park.

The last land purchase of this scale in Maine probably took place in 2004, when GMO Renewable Resource, a forest investment management company, bought more than 1 million acres from International Paper, said Jym St. Pierre, Maine director of Restore: The North Woods. When the Malone transaction is complete, it will mean that nearly 10 million acres of Maine forestland will have changed hands in the past 15 years, he said.

St. Pierre said he doesn’t known Malone’s motivation, but likes to think he’s conservation-minded.

“He has the ability, he has the resources, he has the opporutnity to do something spectacular in terms of large-scale forest conservation in Maine,” he said.