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

Flickr  Marshall Astor
Flickr Marshall Astor

05 October, 2016

The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the Cabela's Board of Directors, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017, Bass Pro said in a statement released Monday morning.

Privately held Bass Pro Shops will pay $65.50 per share in cash for Cabela's, representing a premium of 19.2% over Friday's closing price. Activist investment firm Elliott Management began pushing for significant changes at Cabela's last fall.

Bass Pro CEO Johnny Morris founded the retailer in 1972, working out of the back of his father's liquor store in Springfield, Mo.

Bass Pro Shops is a retail industry leader in fishing equipment, and its subsidiary, White River Marine Group, is prominent in boating supplies; Cabela's major strength is in hunting supplies.

"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 Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. As of 3 p.m. ET, its shares had gained almost 15 percent, to $63.13.

Bass Pro shops has 20,000 employees who work at its 99 stores and Tracker Marine Centers located mostly in the eastern part of the USA and Canada. Guggenheim Securities was Cabela's banker for the transaction.

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Bass Pro Shops says it will continue operations at Cabela's Sydney, Nebraska headquarters.

A Bass Pro Shops store in Orlando, Fla.

Dick and Mary Cabela launched what would become one of the country's largest sporting goods retailers from the living room of their Chappell home in 1961. The companies did not immediately respond to CNNMoney messages about whether any of Cabela's 19,000 employees would eventually be laid off or any of its 85 US and Canadian stores closed.

Tommy Millner, Cabela's chief executive officer, said in a statement Monday that the decision to sell the company to Bass Pro Shops was made after a "thorough strategic review". "We have enormous admiration for Cabela's, its founders and outfitters, and its loyal base of customers".

Capital One will take over running Cabela's credit card unit as part of the deal, which is backed by $1.8 billion in financing from Goldman Sachs and another $600 million from private equity fund Pamplona Capital.

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