Bass Pro, Cabela to combine operations in $5.5 billion deal, companies have two stores in Arkansas

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 549 views 

Hunting and fishing giant Bass Pro Shops is acquiring competitor Cabela’s Inc. for $5.5 billion in an all cash deal that will combine the two iconic American retailers with loyal outdoor-oriented customer bases across the American South, West and Midwest.

In an announcement after the opening of the New York Stock Exchange, privately-held Bass Pro and publicly traded Cabela announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which Bass Pro Shops will acquire Cabela’s for $65.50 per share in cash, a 19.2% premium over Friday’s closing price of $54.93.

Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris will continue as CEO and majority shareholder of the new entity, which will remain a private company with a continuing long-term view of supporting the outdoor retail industry and conservation.

Bass Pro opened a long-awaited 120,000-square foot location in West Little Rock nearly three years ago on One Bass Pro Drive. Cabela opened its 100,000 square foot store in Rogers, which has about 200 full-time employees, in the summer of 2012.

Founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela, the Sidney, Neb.-retailer of the same name focuses on hunting, fishing, camping, shooting sports and related outdoor merchandise. The company has more than 19,000 employees, also known as “outfitters,” operating at 85 locations primarily in the western U.S. and Canada.

Bass Pro, founded in 1972 by Morris, is a leading national retailer of outdoor gear and apparel, with 99 stores located primarily in the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada. Morris started the business with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Mo., the company’s sole location for the first 13 years of business.

Today, the Branson area outdoor retailer employs nearly 20,000 workers, and also operates Big Cedar Lodge and America’s Premier Wilderness Resort in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. Bass Pro also owns White River Marine Group, which markets boat, motor and trailer packages the Tracker, Sun Tracker, Nitro, Tahoe, Regency, Mako, Ranger, Triton and Stratos brand names.

Following the closing of the deal, Bass Pro Shops said intends to grow the Cabela’s brand maintain the company’s customer loyalty program. Bass Pro said it will also maintain Cabela’s bases of operations in Sidney and Lincoln, Neb., and said it hopes to continue relations with those communities and employees residing there.

In addition, Bass Pro said at closing it will commence a multi-year partnership agreement with Capital One, National Association, a wholly-owned national banking subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corp., under which Capital One will originate and service the Cabela’s CLUB, Cabela’s co-branded credit card. Capital One intends to continue to operate the Cabela’s CLUB servicing center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Bass Pro Shops said it will also maintain a seamless integration between the credit card program and the combined companies’ retail operations and deep customer relationships. All Cabela’s CLUB points and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards points will be unaffected by the transactions and customers can continue to use their credit cards as they were prior to the transaction.