How much of a financial bath did the Seattle Times Co. take on the sale of its Maine newspapers to an investor group? As much as $170 million? The Times isn't saying. But earlier this year publisher Frank Blethen pegged the combined value of the Maine papers and the Times-owned 1000 Denny Building, across from its headquarters, at $100 million.
That building's assessed value is $20.3 million, and the property is currently for sale at $40 million. Subtracting the latter figure from $100 million, you get the Maine papers' possible value, $60 million. The Times has reported several times in recent years, and today, that the Blethen family borrowed $213 million to buy the papers in 2003, according to a Times internal document. That could be a perpetuated typo: The original 2003 story reported the figure at $233 million.
We're just ballparkin' here. But assuming $233 million is the correct figure, and if the Times was actually able to get $60 million for the papers, it might have lost $173 million through the the recent sale. That may help explain the comment yesterday by Times president Carolyn Kelly: the sale "does not solve the financial challenges we face."