Nordstrom shares jumped 30% in extended trading following reports that billionaire Ryan Cohen has taken a sizable stake in the department store.
The activist investor reportedly intends to urge the chain to make changes to its board following a steep share-price decline, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Cohen is one of the top-five non-family shareholders of Nordstrom and has been known to ignite rallies in so-called meme stocks, including GameStop.
Cohen built his fortune as the founder of the online pet retailer Chewy.
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The investor looks to refresh Nordstrom’s board, which he believes can support cost-cutting efforts as sales decline, according to people familiar with the situation.
His goal is to replace at least one director, believed to be former Bed, Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton, who chairs Nordstrom’s compensation committee.
Tritton worked for Nordstrom from 2009 to 2016.
Cohen believes it is inappropriate for Tritton to have a say in compensation for Nordstrom family members, given that he used to work around them, the people said.
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“While Mr. 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 Nordstrom spokeswoman said in a statement. “We will continue to take actions that we believe are in the best interests of the company and our shareholders.”
Cohen once had a large stake in Bed, Bath & Beyond and pushed for changes during Tritton’s tenure at the home-goods retailer, which may soon file for bankruptcy production.
Tritton was ousted from Bed, Bath & Beyond in June as sales started to drop.
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When Cohen cashed out of Bed, Bath & Beyond, he made about $60 million, based on an analysis of regulatory filings.
The company is set to report its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year results on March 2, according to its website.
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