Nordstrom, the iconic Seattle retailer founded in 1901, is going to continue as a public company, at least for the time being.
In a SEC filing Monday morning, the company announced that key members of the executive team — including Co-Presidents Blake W. Nordstrom, Peter E. Nordstrom and Erik B. Nordstrom— have told the special committee of the company’s board of directors that they have suspended, for at least the rest of the year, any exploration to take the 116-year-old retailer private. The company plans to explore the possibility once again after the holiday shopping season.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the deal, reported that partners representing Nordstrom struggled to raise enough debt, and were concerned about holding the debt into next year.
Speculation arose last month that the publicly-traded chain of 356 department stores — which has increasingly faced competition from its next door neighbor Amazon — was close to a deal with private equity investors to go private. The Nordstrom family owns 31.2 percent of the company, which is valued at $6.79 billion.
Shares of the company slumped more than four percent on the news.
The suspension of the going private transaction could open the door to new suitors, and one who has been discussed as a potential acquirer is none other than Amazon.
Last month, New York University professor Scott Galloway — who had successfully predicted that Amazon would buy Whole Foods — suggested that Nordstrom might be on Amazon’s shopping list.
“It would be cheap, it’s in Seattle, they’re operationally very sound, it’s a great company and they’re [Amazon is] trying to establish relationships with high-end brands, which they have been unable to do,” Galloway told Recode. “Nordstrom has those and a lot of credibility, and a lot of wealthy households have a Nordstrom credit card.”