Nordstrom family weighs buyout for Seattle retailer, with its legacy — and billions — on the line

In the midst of a tough retail environment that has seen department stores closing locations and clothing companies filing for bankruptcy, members of the Nordstrom family said Thursday they’re considering taking the Seattle-based fashion retailer private.

In the midst of a tough retail environment that has seen department stores closing locations and clothing companies filing for bankruptcy, members of the Nordstrom family said Thursday they’re considering taking the Seattle-based fashion retailer private.

The move comes at a time when retailers generally are struggling to cope with consumers’ growing penchant for shopping online as well as general shifts in what they spend their money on. Nordstrom has done better than most retailers in adapting, but sales at its big full-line stores have suffered.

The Nordstrom family members — company Co-Presidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom and Erik Nordstrom; President of Stores James Nordstrom; Chairman Emeritus Bruce Nordstrom; and Anne Gittinger, granddaughter of Nordstrom co-founder John Nordstrom — have not made any proposal yet, the company said.

The group owns 51.8 million shares, representing about 31.2 percent of the company’s outstanding stock, it said in a regulatory filing Thursday.

The company, which was founded as a shoe store in 1901 and went public in 1971, currently has a market capitalization — the value of all shares — of about $7.5 billion at the end of Thursday’s trading.

That means that to buy up the 69 percent of shares that they don’t own, the family group and any allies would likely need more than $5 billion — and that’s without any additional premium over the current price that stockholders would likely require.

Those stockholders got a nice short-term bump as Nordstrom shares climbed after the…

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