Nordstrom Puts Off Plans to Go Private

Nordstrom will not be closing in on a major private sale this year.

The company, which is led by co-presidents Blake, Erik and Peter Nordstrom, said in a company statement that it has put off plans to sell the company to a private buyer until after the holiday season.

In June, Nordstrom announced plans to find a private buyer for stocks of the company not owned by the Nordstrom family by partnering with private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners in deal that could have been worth $10 billion. But after spending several weeks in search of a buyer, Nordstrom announced that it was suspending plans to strike the deal until after the holidays.

At the time, the Nordstrom family owned 51,830,957 shares, or an approximate 31.2 percent stake, of its common stock. The deal would have given Leonard Green Partners 100 percent of the outstanding shares.

According to earlier reports, Nordstrom has considered the possibility of going private for several years, especially as other department stores such as Macy’s and J.C. Penney have struggled with store closings. Finding a private buyer would have allowed Nordstrom, which has consistently performed better than its department store competitors, to continue to develop the company and take risks without worrying as much about short-term profit goals.

Nordstrom Rack store
A Nordstrom Rack store.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

“Every move made by management to evolve the business is scrutinized by shareholders, and in some cases, longer-term strategic, innovative moves that require testing are not perceived as being of near-term benefit to shareholders,” retail analyst Jeff Van Sinderen told Footwear News in September.

In the summer, the company’s board of directors formed a special committee to explore the possibility of a deal with Leonard Green & Partners. But after struggling to complete a financial package in a declining retail landscape, the Nordstrom family said that it will renew its efforts to make the deal in the new year.

In the summer, news that Nordstrom might go private sent the company’s stocks soaring by nearly 20 percent. According to the Associated Press, Nordstrom shares were down 5 percent at $40.52 in early trading after this morning’s announcement.

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