Nordstrom committee pulls plug on family buyout talks over price

Nordstrom Inc. announced on Tuesday that its special committee, appointed by the board, has officially ended buyout talks with the luxury department store's founding Nordstrom family. 

An agreed upon sale price could not be reached, said the committee - Nordstrom

The special committee said it has terminated discussions with members of the Nordstrom family regarding the group’s "acquisition of the outstanding shares of common stock of the company."

In a press release, the Seattle-based firm said that "it could not reach [an] agreement with the [family] group on an acceptable price for the company."

"Nordstrom is well positioned to capitalise on future opportunities to gain market share through its customer strategy, centred on three strategic pillars: providing a differentiated product offering; delivering exceptional services and experiences; and leveraging the strength of its brand," said the committee.

"The special committee is confident that the company’s ability to leverage its digital capabilities and its local market assets of people, product, and place will support growth across both its full-price and off-price businesses."

The Nordstrom family group is made up of Nordstrom Inc. co-presidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom, and Erik Nordstrom, as well as president of stores James Nordstrom, chairman emeritus Bruce Nordstrom, and Anne Gittinger.

A statement has not been made by the family group since the decision came down late Tuesday.

Earlier this March, Nordstrom rejected an indicative take-private offer from its founding family group worth about $8.4 billion, or $50 a share. The board, which formed a special committee to evaluate a possible transaction, warned the would-be buyers to quickly increase their offer or move on from discussions.

Since June last year, the family members, who own about 31 percent of the shares, have argued that the bid was generous, compared to the stock price before they announced the buyout plan. At the time, the shares were trading at $40.48, meaning a $50 bid represented a 24 percent increase in value.

Experts are now predicting the company will push to go public.

The special committee is being advised by Centerview Partners LLC as financial advisor and Sidley Austin LLP as its legal counsel.

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