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Nordstrom shares fall on report that buyout discussions are 'informal', nothing but 'talks'

  • Time might be close to running out for retailer Nordstrom to land a deal to go private, Women's Wear Daily reported on Wednesday.
  • So far, talks with potential buyers have been "informal," bankers told WWD.
  • Just last week, Reuters reported that the Nordstrom family would be offering so-called preferential terms to potential equity partners willing to fund a buyout.
Customers exit a Nordstrom department store in Christiana, Delaware.
William Thomas Cain | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Customers exit a Nordstrom department store in Christiana, Delaware.

Time is of the essence for department store chain Nordstrom to ink a deal, should the retailer want to go private as the Nordstrom family has expressed interest in doing.

But that precious time might be close to running out, Women's Wear Daily reported on Wednesday, based on conversations the publication had with various bankers.

Those bankers who were "hoping to funnel billions of debt into the deal are getting anxious because the window to do a deal this year is narrowing," WWD said. For a deal like this to happen, Nordstrom would need to be out of the market by early November, one banker said.

"That means you have to basically have a deal announced by the beginning of October."

Nordstrom shares were recently down nearly 5 percent Wednesday, following the WWD report.

A representative from Nordstrom didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Other department store stocks were also seen falling on Wednesday. Macy's was recently down 3 percent, Sears was down 4 percent, J.C. Penney was falling 2.7 percent, and Kohl's was down about 1.7 percent.

Sources told WWD that Nordstrom continues to have conversations with potential buyers, but those discussions are being described as "informal" and "just talks."

Just last week, Reuters reported that the Nordstrom family would be offering so-called preferential terms to potential equity partners willing to fund a buyout.

Leonard Green & Partners, Apollo Global Management and KKR are among the private equity firms in talks with the Nordstrom family members, sources told Reuters.

Seattle-based Nordstrom has long been known to be top of its class in the mall space. But no company has managed to escape entirely the threat of falling foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores.

As a private company, Nordstrom is reportedly hoping to focus on initiatives such as investing more in e-commerce, closing underperforming stores and expanding its discount chain, Nordstrom Rack.

Nordstrom's management may want to be more strategic in its response to the current retail climate. As a private entity, the company expects it wouldn't have to worry as much about quarter-to-quarter trends.

WATCH: Nordstrom buyout talks still at informal stage