Nordstrom family tries again to take department store private, forms special committee

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A sign marks the location of a Nordstrom store in a shopping mall on March 20, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. 
Scott Olson | Getty Images

The Nordstrom family is once again considering taking the department store private and has formed a special committee to evaluate bids, it announced on Thursday. 

CEO Erik Nordstrom and president Pete Nordstrom recently told the company’s board of directors that it’s interested in pursuing a take private deal for the 123-year-old department store, Nordstrom said in a news release

As a result, the board formed a special committee of independent and disinterested directors who will evaluate proposals from the two Nordstrom brothers and any others from outside parties. 

The company said that Nordstrom’s board “is committed to enhancing shareholder value” and the committee will determine if any potential bids are in the best interest of the company and its owners. 

The department store warned that there’s no assurance a deal will happen or be approved. 

In 2017, private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners came close to taking the company private but the deal ultimately fell apart

At the time, management was hoping going private would allow it to make the investments it needed to help it adapt to a shifting retail landscape without the constant scrutiny that comes with a public company. 

The announcement comes as department stores face an uncertain future and grapple with declining sales. Many of the brands that have long relied on department stores to drive their revenue are now focusing on their own stores and websites and are less interested in working with wholesalers. 

Nordstrom’s interest in going private was first reported by Reuters last month. Shares rose about 2% in extended trading after the news was announced and are up about 1.5% year to date, as of Thursday’s close.

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