Cabela’s has been acquired by Bass Pro Shops for $5.5 billion.
The move combines two American companies which cater to the hunting, fishing, and hiking enthusiasts of America and which both had humble beginnings. Cabela’s began in Sidney and Bass Pro began in Springfield, Missouri.
Bass Pro will pay $65.50 per share in cash to buy Cabela’s.
Bass Pro will also begin a multi-year partnership agreement with Capital One which will serve the credit needs of the two stores. Cabela CLUB points and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards will be unaffected. Customers will still be able to use their credit cards at both stores.
Capital One intends to continue to operate the Cabela’s CLUB servicing center in Lincoln, according to Cabela’s.
Sidney has been bracing for the news for months with rumors swirling constantly about the fate of Cabela’s. Cabela’s headquarters remains in Sidney, a city of around 7,000, and approximately 2,000 employees wonder what their future might be.
The company says a driving force behind this agreement is the highly complementary business philosophies, product offerings, expertise, and geographic footprints of the two businesses.
The news release states the merger brings together three of the nation’s premier sporting brands: Cabela’s as a leader in hunting, Bass Pro as a leading in fishing, and White River Marine Group, a leading boat manufacturer owned by Bass Pro.
Cabela’s was founded in 1961 by Dick, Mark and Jim Cabela in Sidney. It has 85 retail stores, primarily in the western United States and Canada.
Bass Pro Shops was founded in 1973 by Johnny Morris. It has 99 stores and Tacker Marine Centers, mostly in the eastern United States and Canada. Morris began White River Marine Group in 1978. Tracker has grown to become the top fishing boat brand in the United States.
“Today’s announcement marks an exceptional opportunity to bring together three special companies with an abiding love for the outdoors and a passion for serving sportsmen and sportswomen,” Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, said in a written statement issued by the company. “The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system. We have enormous admiration for Cabela’s, its founders and outfitters, and its loyal base of customers. We look forward to continuing to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand alongside Bass Pro Shops and White River as one unified outdoor family.”
“Cabela’s is pleased to have found the ideal partner in Bass Pro Shops,” said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer, also in a written statement released by the company. “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. In addition to providing significant immediate value to our shareholders, this partnership provides a unique platform from which our brand will be extremely well positioned to continue to serve outdoor enthusiasts worldwide for generations to come.”
Bass Pro says it intends to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand. The company also stated it appreciates and understands the company’s ties to Sidney and intends “to continue to maintain important bases of operations in Sidney and Lincoln and hopes to continue the very favorable connections to those communities and the Cabela’s team members residing there.”
Johnny Morris will be CEO and majority shareholder of the new company, which will continue to be privately owned.
The merger is expected to close in the first half of next year.