Bass Pro buys Cabela's in multi-billion dollar deal

by Ben Pena October 5, 2016, 6:14

The $5.5 billion deal, which will pay $65.50 per share for Cabela's shareholders, will bring together three well-known sporting brands: Cabela's, a leader in hunting; Bass Pro Shops, a leader in fishing; and White River Marine Group, a leader in boating, which operates as part of Bass Pro.

The two outdoor giants share similar histories, with Cabela's being founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela.

Bass Pro Shops, founded in 1971 in Springfield, Missouri, also has stores in the US and (a handful in) Canada, though most of its locations are in the eastern half of the continent. The sale comes after months of speculation and rumors of the purchase of the Nebraska-based Cabela's by the Missouri-based Bass Pro.

Bass Pro announced Monday that it is buying Cabela's for $4.5 billion.

The deal marks a dramatic expansion of the outdoor retailing empire controlled by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972.

"The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system", Morris said.

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Nebraska-based Cabela's, which opened its Hammond store in 2007, has been looking for a buyer. The companies do however have a dual presence in multiple locations across the country, including Kansas City and St. Louis.

U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith said Cabela's has always been "a cornerstone of western Nebraska's economy".

Wlezien said because Cabela's is a publicly traded company, there are a number of federal regulations that need to be followed while the transaction is pending.

Upon finalizing the contract, Bass Pro Shops will begin a multi-year partnership agreement with Capital One, National Association, a wholly-owned national banking subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation, under which Capital One will originate and service the Cabela's CLUB, Cabela's co-branded credit card, and Bass Pro Shops will maintain a seamless integration between the credit card program and the combined companies' retail operations and deep customer relationships.

A Bass Pro Shops store in Orlando, Fla. "Having undertaken a thorough strategic review, during which we assessed a wide variety of options to maximize value, the board unanimously concluded that this combination with Bass Pro Shops is the best path forward for Cabela's, its shareholders, outfitters and customers".

Cabela's shares rose 15% Monday, closing at $63.18.

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