Nordstrom Considers Going Private

Blake Pete Erik Nordstrom
(L-R) Blake, Pete and Erik Nordstrom.
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Family-run department store chain Nordstrom Inc. is looking into taking the business private.

The company announced today that members of the Nordstrom family — co-presidents Blake, Peter and Erik Nordstrom, president of stores James Nordstrom, chairman emeritus Bruce Nordstrom and Anne Gittinger, granddaughter of founder John Nordstrom — have formed a group to explore the possibility of pursuing a “going-private transaction.”

The firm said that such a transaction would involve the acquisition by the group of 100 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock of the company. They have not made a proposal to the company regarding a potential private transaction.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, as of June 7, the Nordstrom family — on a combined basis — owned 51,830,957 shares of the company’s common stock, representing a 31.2 percent stake.

The company’s board of directors has formed a special committee made up of independent directors to explore the matter.  The committee has retained Centerview Partners LLC to serve as its financial advisor and Sidley Austin LLP to serve as its legal counsel.

Nordstrom has been one of the better-performing department store chains amid an industrywide brick-and-mortar slowdown over the past two years. Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney and others have shuttered hundreds of doors over the past few months in a bid to navigate an increasingly digital landscape as well as consumer shifts toward experiential spending. Nordstrom hasn’t had to resort to store closures but said last year that it would need to slash about 400 jobs to address changing consumer shopping patterns.

The news that Nordstrom might go private sent the firm’s shares soaring in early-morning trading — at one point shares were up more than 20 percent.

As of 10:15 a.m. ET, its stock remained up nearly 13 percent to $45.61.