Bass Pro buying outdoor gear rival Cabela’s
OMAHA, Neb. — Outdoor gear giant Bass Pro is snapping up rival Cabela’s in a deal announced Monday
Bass Pro is paying Cabela’s shareholders $65.50 cash per share, a 19 percent premium to Friday’s closing price. The companies valued the deal at $5.5 billion, which includes debt. The deal combines two companies known for their giant destination superstores.
It also creates uncertainty about jobs in Cabela’s home state of Nebraska. The combined companies plan to keep some operations in Nebraska, but it’s not immediately clear how many jobs might be lost.
Activist investment firm Elliott Management began pushing for significant changes at Cabela’s last fall. Elliott owns 7.4 percent of Cabela’s shares and holds options to buy an additional 3.8 percent.
A sale of Cabela’s has been a possibility since the company announced a review of its strategic options last December, but many in Sidney, Neb., where Cabela’s is based, weren’t ready to believe it could happen. “We’re just trying to absorb it right now,” said Denise Wilkinson, president of the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce.
Bass Pro founder and CEO Johnny Morris said he hopes to continue growing the Cabela’s brand alongside his privately held chain, which is based in Springfield, Mo.
“The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system,” Morris said.
Cabela’s was founded in 1961 when Dick Cabela started selling fishing flies through the mail from his kitchen table with his wife, Mary, and brother, Jim.
Bass Pro got its start in 1971 when Morris began selling high-quality fishing tackle in his dad’s liquor store.