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Nordstrom board rejects takeover offer from founding family

The effort by the Nordstrom family to take the department store retailer private has hit another roadblock.

Speculation has been mounting for the past week that the family was close to securing a deal to take the retailer private. On Monday, a special committee advising Nordstrom’s board said it had received and rejected an offer from the family to take the company private, calling the proposed price “inadequate.”

The Nordstrom family group — consisting of company co-presidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom, and Erik Nordstrom, along with president of stores James Nordstrom, chairman emeritus Bruce Nordstrom, and Anne E. Gittinger — had informed the committee that it intended to submit a proposal to buy all outstanding shares of common stock of the company they don’t already own, and approximately 21% of the shares owned by the Nordstrom family members in the group, for $50 each, according to a company statement.

“The special committee has reviewed the group’s indicative acquisition proposal, in consultation with its financial adviser and legal counsel, and has determined that the price proposed is inadequate,” Nordstrom said in a statement. “The special committee has directed its advisors and management not to provide further due diligence information to the group.”

The offer was indicative, which means it may have been put together without financing in place, according to CNBC. The special committee of the board said unless the family group can substantial — and promptly — improve its offer price, it plans to end discussions.

The Nordstrom family, which owns 31.2% of the company’s shares, announced in June that it was considering taking the retailer private. It postponed the move in October, citing “the difficulty of obtaining debt financing in the current retail environment.” The family, which had been working with Leonard Green & Partners LP to provide equity financing on the deal, said it would resume efforts to take the company private after the holidays.
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