Nordstrom Inc.’s (JWN) efforts to go private are coming to an end after the company ended talks with the Nordstrom family on the matter. The luxury department store chain started a path toward privatization last year, but the special committee advising Nordstrom’s board and the Nordstrom family could not agree on a price. The Nordstrom family owns about 31.2% of the company. (See also: Nordstrom Privatization Deal in ‘Deep Trouble’: Report.)
Earlier this month, the board rejected an offer of $50 per share as too low. But the Nordstrom family, which has been working with private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, reportedly was trying to put in a higher offer as late as yesterday, according to CNBC’s unnamed sources. A higher offer hinged on how much Leonard Green & Partners could contribute, or on financing from another third party.
Nordstrom shares are trading near $50 per share in recent sessions.
Traditional retailers are increasingly having a difficult time securing significant financing for takeovers as the industry is suffering from declining sales with more consumers going online. Leveraged buyouts were once common, but many of the resulting debt-saddled companies, like Toys R Us, are now filing for bankruptcy. That’s left lenders reluctant to make more of such deals. (See also: How Amazon Is Destroying Toys R Us.)
Nordstrom was striving to go private so it could focus on improving its digital channels and better structuring its store footprint. As a public company, Nordstrom is subject to growing skepticism among investors about the future of retailers that rely on foot traffic to boost sales.
Shares of Nordstrom are down about 4% the past month, with the stock up about 1.5% over the past year.