Nordstrom, the 116-year-old Seattle-based department store, facing the same fight many traditional retailers face against e-commerce and Amazon, is close to a deal with a private equity firm to go private, according to a new report Tuesday from CNBC.
The Nordstrom family, which owns 31.2 percent of the company, has been rumored to be looking for a deal for months, and CNBC reports that talks with Leonard Green & Partners have progressed. The firm would provide the family members with roughly $1 billion in equity to help fund the deal, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC.
The report also said the family is already talking to banks about raising between $7 billion and $8 billion in debt to finance the deal, and that a formal bid could be submitted in the next couple of weeks.
Seattle investment data firm PitchBook has previously noted that private equity firms are staying away from the retail industry as of late.
Nordstrom, which was founded in Seattle in 1901, now operates 356 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Of those, 221 are Nordstrom Rack stores. The company is valued at about $7 billion, and its stock has fallen 11 percent in the past year, in part due to Amazon’s boosting its presence in the apparel and fashion world.
Nordstrom has tried a number of online and in-store measures, as well as restructuring and lay offs around its technology team, in the bid to keep pace. On Monday, it unveiled a new concept that will open in West Hollywood, Calif., next month in which personal stylists will cater to shoppers — in stores with no merchandise.
In a story by Recode on Monday, NYU professor and brand expert Scott Galloway said that Nordstrom would be the logical next acquisition for Amazon after Whole Foods, saying that the fashion chain fits the higher-end customer mold that the tech-giant likes.
CNBC said that the Nordstrom family “is hoping that as a private company, Nordstrom will be able to make investments that help it adapt to the changing retail landscape without worrying about short-term shareholder reaction.”
Nordstrom stock was up 9 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday.