Bass Pro Shops to acquire Cabela’s in $5.5 billion deal

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Cabela's opened its store in Noblesville in August 2015

Bass Pro Shops will acquire Cabela’s in a deal worth $5.5 billion, the companies announced Monday.

Cabela’s, which has locations in Noblesville and Hammond, Ind., is based in Sidney, Neb. About 10 months ago, a hedge fund said Cabela’s was undervalued and recommended a sale or reorganization. Bass Pro Shops has locations in Portage and Clarksville, Ind.

In a joint announcement about the deal, the companies said a “driving force” behind the agreement is the “highly complementary business philosophies, product offerings, expertise and geographic footprints of the two businesses. The essence of both Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s is a deep passion to serve outdoor enthusiasts and support conservation.”

4 Fast Facts

  • Bass Pro Shops announced acquisition of Cabela’s
  • Deal is worth $5.5 billion
  • Combined, the companies have more than 180 stores and nearly 40,000 workers
  • Final approval is expected in 2017

According to a news release, Bass Pro Shops planned to “celebrate and grow” the Cabela’s brand. It wasn’t clear if the outdoor retailer planned to close any stores as a result of the deal, but an FAQ at Bass Pro Shops’ website said it would “business as usual” at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.

Cabela’s has more than 80 stores and 19,700 employees around the U.S. and Canada. Bass Pro Shops has nearly 100 stores and 20,000 employees. The companies were considered competitors, and Bass Pro Shops’ acquisition has been rumored for some time.

Cabela’s CEO, Tommy Millner, said the company’s board unanimously approved the deal after a “thorough strategic review.”

Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972, will lead the new venture and retain majority ownership. He wrote in a letter to employees and customers that the deal is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for both companies.

Morris said his company recognizes the “deep ties” between Cabela’s and Sydney and Lincoln, Neb., where the company was founded and planned to maintain the “important bases of operation” in those communities.

The deal is expected to get final approval in 2017.

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