Billionaire Ryan Cohen preps to up stake in Nordstrom to shake up board

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Ryan Cohen, the billionaire investor, is preparing to acquire a large stake in Nordstrom in order to shake up its board, said Reuters citing people familiar with the matter. Nordstrom, the yosclae retailer, is lagging behind its rivals.

Cohen, who built his fortune by co-founding online pet retailer Chewy Inc (CHWY.N) and cemented it with investments in videogame retailer GameStop (GME.N) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O), would like to replace at least one director on Nordstrom’s 10-member board, the people said.

Apparently, Cohen is not happy with Mark Tritton, who chairs the the compensation committee and has been on the board of directors since 2020. Cohen has privately called Tritton, a former chief executive of Bed Bath & Beyond, “conflicted and unqualified,” said the people, who were not permitted to discuss the private negotiations. Bed Bath & Beyond is preparing to file for bankruptcy, Reuters reported this week.

Over past five years, Nordstrom shares have dropped roughly 55 per cent. Ratings agency Fitch again downgraded the company last month. Fitch said that Nordstrom’s “operating trajectory has been weaker than most retailers.”

“While Cohen hasn’t sought any discussions with us in several years, we are open to hearing his views, as we do with all Nordstrom shareholders,” a company representative said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Cohen’s stake in Nordstrom.

Cohen is now one of the company’s top five non-insider shareholders alongside investment firms BlackRock and Fidelity, the people familiar with his stake said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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