Bass Pro Shops Strikes Deal to Acquire Cabela's for $5.5 Billion

Oct 3, 2016

Citing highly complementary business philosophies and product offerings, Springfield-based Bass Pro Shops will acquire rival Cabela’s in a deal valued at $5.5 billion.

A joint press release issued Monday says Bass Pro is paying $65.50 per share in cash to attain the Nebraska-based company, a transaction that is expected to close in the first half of 2017. The two brands serving outdoor enthusiasts will operated independently until then.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

Bass Pro Founder Johnny Morris, in an open letter published online Monday, said that for many years he’s believed there is a strategic fit between the two companies.

“The prospect of bringing together our time-tested, iconic outdoor brands: Cabela's — a leader in hunting, Bass Pro Shops — a leader in fishing, and White River Marine Group [part of Bass Pro] — a worldwide leader in boating, is very exciting!”

Once the transaction is complete, Bass Pro Shops will also begin a multi-year partnership agreement with Capital One, which will originate and service the Cabela’s CLUB credit card. Bass Pro Shops says it will maintain a seamless integration between the credit card program and the combined companies’ retail operations, noting that reward points from each company will be unaffected.

The letter stated an intention to grow the Cabela's brand. The company was founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela. Today, it has over 19,000 employees across its 85 stores. The locations are mainly in in the western U.S. and Canada.

It is unclear if any closings or layoffs will be a result of the merger. Bass Pro, founded in 1972, has 99 stores located primarily in the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada. The companies do however have a dual presence in multiple locations across the country, including Kansas City and St. Louis.

The joint release does note that says Bass Pro Shops intends to continue to maintain bases of operations in Sidney and Lincoln, Nebraska; home of the publically-traded Cabela’s.   

"Cabela’s is pleased to have found the ideal partner in Bass Pro Shops," said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer. "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.

Bass Pro, a privately-owned company, will continue as such. Founder and CEO Johnny Morris will remain in that role and as majority shareholder of the new entity.