Nordstrom surges 30% on WSJ report Ryan Cohen has a 'sizable' stake, eyes changes

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Nordstrom surges 30% on WSJ report Ryan Cohen has a 'sizable' stake, eyes changes
Credit: © Reuters.

By Senad Karaahmetovic

Activist investor and billionaire Ryan Cohen is reportedly building a “sizeable” stake in Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN ), the Wall Street Journal reports. Cohen is reportedly one of the top 5 non-family shareholders of JWN, which had a $3.38 billion market capitalization based on yesterday’s closing price of $21.14 a share.

The investor is planning to push for board changes as shares trade about 75% off their all-time high set in 2015. Cohen, who became a billionaire by founding pet retailer Chewy (NYSE: CHWY ), intends to talk to management about refreshing the board which could result in cost-cutting actions to offset falling sales.

“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 told WSJ in a statement. “We will continue to take actions that we believe are in the best interests of the company and our shareholders.”

The activist investor is reportedly specifically aiming to replace Mark Tritton, the former Chief Executive of Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY ), whom he sees as “conflicted and unqualified.” Tritton chairs the compensation committee at Nordstrom. A pair of director candidates have already been recruited by Cohen for potential nomination to JWN’s board, the WSJ report adds.

Cohen had a big stake in Bed Bath & Beyond and was known for criticizing the company’s management. He reportedly netted $60 million by selling his stake in the troubled retailer last August.

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