Nordstrom Breaks Off Buyout Talks With Founding Family

Two weeks after rejecting an $8.4 billion offer from the Nordstrom family to buy out the department store and take it private, a special committee formed by the company’s Board of Directors has called off acquisition talks entirely. In a statement, the special committee indicated that it could not reach an agreement with the family on “an acceptable price for the company.”

Nordstrom is “well positioned to capitalize on future opportunities to gain market share through its customer strategy,” according to the statement. This strategy is centered on three strategic pillars:

  • Providing a differentiated product offering;
  • Delivering exceptional services and experiences; and
  • Leveraging the strength of its brand.

In taking Nordstrom private, the family wanted to remove itself from both the volatility of the stock market and the need to please shareholders. The family argued that as a private company, Nordstrom could invest more in experimental initiatives designed to generate long-term results, without having to worry about public (or Wall Street) opinion that could affect the company’s financial value.


Nevertheless, Nordstrom has taken recent strides to bring technology in-house: the department store acquired two Seattle-based retail technology startups: BevyUp, a digital selling platform, and MessageYes, a conversational commerce platform.

The founding family members involved in the talks include company Co-Presidents Blake W. Nordstrom, Peter E. Nordstrom and Erik B. Nordstrom; President of Stores James F. Nordstrom; Chairman Emeritus Bruce A. Nordstrom; and Anne E. Gittinger, the granddaughter of company Co-Founder John W. Nordstrom. These family members collectively own 31% of the company’s shares, and created the offer to take the department store private months after suspending the campaign in October 2017

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