Leading indicators

By Telis Demos

(Fortune Magazine) -- NEWSPAPERS BY THE NUMBERS

SIX SIGMA IN THE NEWSROOM? $600 million

High-end bid for the Boston Globe reportedly being considered by a group that includes former GE (Charts) CEO Jack Welch and erstwhile Globe columnist Mike Barnicle.

GREY LADY, GREEN PROBLEMS $1.1 billion

Price that the New York Times Co (Charts)., current owner of the Globe, paid for it back in 1993. Since then, the company's total daily circulation (which includes the Globe's) has dropped 30%, and its stock is 54% off its 2002 peak.

CALIFORNIA DEALIN' $2.6 billion

Value of the Los Angeles Times, based on a standard industry multiple. Its owner, Tribune Co., (Charts) is mulling a sale-the paper's revenues fell 2% last year as circulation and classified ads slipped, and the publisher left rather than make further staff cuts. DreamWorks exec David Geffen is rumored to be weighing a bid.

TRIB-ULATIONS $8 billion

Price paid by Tribune Co. for the Los Angeles Times and its parent company, Times-Mirror, in 2001. Trib's shares are 36% below their 2004 peak.

CLASSIFIED INFORMATION 500%

Craigslist's estimated sales growth since 2003. Its revenues (from sales of online help-wanted ads) will grow from $10 million in 2003 to $50 million this year. Revenues for newspaper classifieds fell from $19.6 billion in 2001 to $17.3 billion in 2005.

SOURCES: AP, COMPANY REPORTS, BUSINESS WEEK, CLASSIFIED INTELLIGENCE, NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA  Top of page