The special committee advising Nordstrom's board said Monday it has rejected an initial proposal from the Nordstrom family to take the retailer private for $50 a share as too low.
The offer was below Monday's closing price of about $51.90 a share. The stock fell about 2 percent in after-hours trading Monday, to roughly $50.50 a share.
A group of Nordstrom family members, which owns 31.2 percent of Nordstrom, has been working to take the retailer private since last year. The company had appointed a special committee to the company's board to evaluate those efforts.
The special committee of the board on Monday said unless the family group can substantially improve its offer price, it plans to end discussions.
It is not uncommon for boards evaluating management buyouts to reject the first bid tabled, in order to demonstrate impartiality.
CNBC earlier reported the retailer had hoped to have an offer on the table by Nordstrom's earnings last Thursday, cautioning it did not yet have full financing in place. The company has met with financing banks in recent weeks to discuss its options, but the landscape for buyouts of retailers is difficult, due to uncertainty clouding the industry.
The special committee requested that the Nordstrom family group provide an indication of the price it is willing to pay for a deal, without finalizing its financing, according to documents filed with regulators on Monday afternoon.
The filing outlined from where the family group may get the capital needed to fund a deal.
Banks have indicated they are willing to lend up to $7.5 billion, it said, cautioning those preliminary offers are subject to commitment letters, which means they have not yet been fully approved.
Leonard Green, the private equity firm the Nordstrom family has been working with on the take-private, has been looking at contributing $1.5 billion to $2 billion in equity.
The family group is also in conversations with outside parties for a third source of capital, the filing said, as has been previously reported by CNBC.
Going private remains a desirable course for at least some of Nordstrom's family members. The public market has been punishing to all retailers, hindering them from making many of the moves necessary to readjust to the changing retail landscape. For Nordstrom and others, these include costly e-commerce investments and the need to realign stores.
Nordstrom last week reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts' expectations on sales though fell short on earnings.