After months of speculation and rumor in the outdoor industry, Bass Pro Shops has announced it will acquire longtime competitor Cabela’s for about $5.5 billion, which equates to $65.50 per share. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2017, subject to the customary conditions and review. Until that time, according to an open letter to Bass Pro team members and customers, both businesses will continue to operate as separate, independent companies. "It is business as usual at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's and there will be no immediate impact to our stores," according to the website statement.
An official press release explained that a driving force behind this agreement was the “highly complementary business philosophies, product offerings, expertise and geographic footprints of the two businesses." The combination brings together three of the nation's premier sporting brands: Cabela’s, a leader in hunting; Bass Pro Shops, a leader in fishing; and White River Marine Group, a worldwide leader in boating, which is part of Bass Pro Shops.
"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," said Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. "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.”
Tommy Millner, Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer, said, "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 was founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela, and today has more than 19,000 “outfitters” operating 85 specialty retail stores, primarily in the western U.S. and Canada, and has built a passionate and loyal base of millions of enthusiasts who shop both at its retail stores and online.
Bass Pro Shops, founded in 1972 by avid young angler Johnny Morris, is a leading national retailer of outdoor gear and apparel, with 99 stores and Tracker Marine Centers located primarily in the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada. Bass Pro Shops employs approximately 20,000 team members and has been named by Forbes as one of "America's Best Employers." The company also operates Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains.