Bringing the worlds of hunting and fishing together, Bass Pro Shops inked a roughly $5.5 billion deal to buy Cabela’s Inc.
That price works out to $65.50 a share — 19.2 percent above Cabela’s closing price Friday.
Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops founder and chief executive officer, will continue on as ceo and majority shareholder of the combined company, which is privately held.
The deal will create an outdoor giant, with Cabela’s expertise in hunting and Bass Pro’s emphasis on fishing and Bass Pro’s White River Marine Group in the boating space.
The company said the three would “blend seamlessly.”
“The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system,” Morris said. “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.”
Cabela’s was founded in 1961 and has 85 specialty stores, primarily in the western U.S. and Canada as well as catalog and e-commerce operations. Bass Pro got its start in 1971 and has grown to 99 stores and Tracker Marine Centers, primarily in the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada.
Cabela’s ceo Tommy Millner 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. 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.”
Bass Pro said it “intends to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand and will build on qualities that respective customers love most about Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops.”
Morris said having a larger company would help further his efforts to preserve the outdoor space vital to the companies.
“Conservation is at the heart and soul of Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s share a steadfast belief that the future of our industry, and the outdoor sports we all love, depends — more than anything else — on how we manage our natural resources,” he said. “By combining our efforts, we can have a profound positive impact on the conservation challenges of our day and help foster the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”