Nordstrom Is No Longer Exploring Going Private

Shares jumped in June when the Seattle-based retailer first announced that it was considering privatization.
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Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Nordstrom

Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Nordstrom

It's been four months since Nordstrom, the Seattle-based chain of upscale department stores, first announced that the Nordstroms (the family) — including Co-Presidents Blake W. Nordstrom, Peter E. Nordstrom and Erik B. Nordstrom, President of Stores James F. Nordstrom and Chairman Emeritus Bruce A. Nordstrom — had formed a committee to consider taking their company private. 

Initially, things were looking good: Nordstrom, Inc. reported a 20 percent boost in shares in the days immediately following that first announcement, news that came on the tail of a rather volatile year for the company, sales-wise. In September, it was reported that the family group was moving quickly, nearing a deal with private equity firm Leonard Green to provide equity financing; sources told CNBC that the Nordstroms had been in talks with banks about raising between $7 billion and $8 billion in debt, with a formal bid expected to follow a few weeks later. 

But earlier this month, the family's efforts hit a snag: CNBC reported that the exploration had stalled as family members were unable to pull together the finances for their end of the deal. And on Monday, the company issued a press release stating that it has "suspended active exploration" of privatization for, at the very least, "the balance of the year." 

It's not ending here, though, as the family has reportedly informed the committee that it will resume its efforts after the conclusion of the holiday season. If only based on this recent complication, paired with how truly lucrative the next three months are for retailers, this doesn't sound like the end of the world. Nordstrom does have a new, inventory-free "retail concept" in Los Angeles to look forward to, after all.

In the meantime, the company's shares dropped 5.96 percent on the New York Stock Exchange Monday, where it is traded under JWN.

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