Stunner of the day: Globe worth just $20 million?

The news that the NYT Co. is trying to sell its stake in the Red Sox is interesting. But what really struck me about today's Wall Street Journal story was the little tidbit relegated to the end of the fifth graf:

It is possible the Globe could be packaged with the sports assets in a sale. Jack Connors, a former ad executive in Boston, and former General Electric Chief Executive Jack Welch took a serious look at the Globe two years ago, valuing it at $550 million to $600 million, people close to them said at the time. Times Co. rebuffed the inquiries. The Globe was recently valued by Barclays at $20 million [emph. added].


Granted, the Globe isn't worth what it used to be. But this can't be right. Can it?

I've done some quick Googling, and I can't find any reports of the $20 million Barclays valuation that seem independent of the WSJ article. Really, my hunch is that this is a typo. But if it isn't--and if the Boston Business Journal's recent report that the Globe is losing close to $1 million a week was correct--then the Globe could be in for an extremely ugly 2009.*

I'll try to get comment from the Globe and/or NYT Co. tomorrow; if I succeed, I'll post an update.

*NOTE: I originally wrote that, if reports of both the valuation and weekly loss rates are right, the Globe could soon have negative value for the NYT Co. But I don't think that's correct. Certain Globe assets, like real estate, will retain their value, even if the paper's expenses keep outstripping its revenues. The key for the NYT Co. will be finding a way to balance expenses and revenues--which is where the aforementioned ugliness comes in.

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