Published: Tue, October 04, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Outdoor giant Bass Pro to acquire rival Cabela's for $4.5B

Cabela's announced Monday that it has agreed to be acquired by Bass Pro Shops in a $5.5 billion deal.

It's uncertain if there will be job loses at Cabela's home base in Sidney, Neb.

The combined companies plan to keep some operations in Sidney and Lincoln, Nebraska, but it's not immediately clear how many jobs might be lost.

Bass Pro Shops Texas stores are in Garland, Grapevine, Harlingen, Katy, Pearland, Round Rock and San Antonio.

Cabela's has been under pressure since NY hedge fund and activist investor Elliott Management announced last fall it had an 11% stake in the company would press for big changes - including the sale of all or parts of it. Cabela's stock had fallen 37% in the 10 months before Elliott's annoucement, but the price has risen about 25% since then as investors bought on the idea that more profits would be squeezed out.

Cabela's, headquartered in Sidney, Neb., has three stores in MI - in Dundee, Grandville and Saginaw - with a fourth store set to open in Chesterfield Township next year. Following the announcement, the stock was up over 15% at $63.39 in early trading indications Monday.

Cabela's opened its Berks store, then the ninth in the chain, in 2003.

Under the deal, Bass Pro Shops, based in Springfield, Mo., will honor Cabela's customer rewards program and may expand the program within the larger company.

Cabela's CEO Tommy Millner said the company's board had unanimously backed the sale after "a thorough strategic review". Bass Pro Shops, which employs about 20,000 team members, has been named by Forbes as one of "America's Best Employers".

The merger brings together three of the nation's top outdoor sporting brands: Cabela's, which specializes in hunting; Bass Pro Shops, which specializes in fishing; and White River Marine Group, a Bass Pro Shops company that specializes in boating.

Bass Pro Shops will pay $65.50 a share in cash as part of a deal that also includes a multi-year partnership with Capital One Financial (COF), which will originate and service the Cabela's co-branded credit card.

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.

In 1978, Morris revolutionized the marine industry when he introduced the world's first professionally rigged and nationally marketed boat, motor and trailer packages.

Morris will be the CEO of the combined company.

Hunters, anglers and campers who frequent Cabela's Tilden store may not notice much difference.

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