Bass Pros Shops catches Cabela’s in $5.5bn deal

BY Richard Summerfield

Fishing and hunting chain Cabela’s Inc. has agreed to be sold to rival Bass Pro Shops in a deal worth $5.5bn.

Under the terms of the deal announced on Monday, Bass Pro Shops has agreed to pay Cabela’s shareholders $65.50 per share held. The price represents a 19.2 percent premium to Cabela's most recent closing price on Friday. According to a joint statement released by the firms, the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017.

In a separate deal, Capital One Financial Corp. has announced that it will be acquiring Cabela’s credit card business for an undisclosed amount. The sale of the credit card business will create a 10 year agreement which will allow Bass Pro Shops to issue credit cards to Cabela's customers.

News of the deal for Cabela’s has been welcomed not only by the company’s shareholders but also the markets. Indeed, Nebraska based Cabela’s, which has been in business since 1961, has endured a difficult few years which have seen the company’s larger stores outmanoeuvred by smaller, more dynamic rivals, including online retailers. The company’s difficulties have been reflected in its declining share price.

In light of the increased competition from a variety of sources, Cabela’s has experienced falling sales of apparel and footwear and has seen same-store sales growth in only one quarter in more than three years. The company had also been under pressure from activist hedge fund Elliott Associates LP, which revealed an 11.1 percent stake in the company a year ago.

Since rumours of a potential sale began to circle in December 2015 the company’s stock has risen 17 percent.

"Cabela’s is pleased to have found the ideal partner in Bass Pro Shops," said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s chief executive . "Having undertaken a thorough strategic review, during which we assessed a wide variety of options to maximise 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. In addition to providing significant immediate value to our shareholders, this partnership provides a unique platform from which our brand will be extremely well positioned to continue to serve outdoor enthusiasts worldwide for generations to come."

The newly combined company will own more than 180 stores across the US and Canada.

“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. "The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system. We have enormous admiration for Cabela’s, its founders and outfitters, and its loyal base of customers. 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.”

News: Cabela’s Agrees to Buyout by Bass Pro in $5.5 Billion Deal

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