The hunting and outdoor sports company said its board has initiated the process of exploring strategic options, including a sale of the business.
Tommy Millner, Cabela’s chief executive officer, said, “We continue to believe that our Vision 2020 strategy will position Cabela’s to be the world’s best omnichannel retailer, while driving improved performance in both revenue growth and profitability.” Millner added that the actions of the board reflect its commitment to enhance shareholder value.
While that process is under way, Millner said for the holiday selling season, it will be business as usual as the company is “well-prepared to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”
Cabela’s was rumored to be an acquisition target about two years ago, although it wasn’t officially on the market back then. Activist investor Elliott Associates, which has a 6 percent equity stake and derivatives that amount to another 5 percent of the company’s shares, is said to be pushing for a sale of the company. Potential acquirers include private equity firms, such as KKR & Co. and TPG Capital, and strategics, such as its competitor Bass Pro Shops.
Instead of selling the business, Cabela’s also has the option of just selling its credit card business or its real estate holdings.
Cabela’s has hired Guggenheim Securities as its financial adviser. The company said there is no timetable for the completion of the process and no assurance that any review would result in a sale or other strategic alternative of any kind.
Based in Sidney, Neb., the company sells outdoor recreation brands ranging from equipment to apparel.
Shares of Cabela’s rose 1.8 percent in early afternoon Big Board trading to $47.73. That’s the midrange of its 52-week high of $58.90 and low of $33.03.
While it’s not clear how much the business could fetch if sold in its entirety, the real estate holdings — about $1 billion — and credit card portfolio — about $5 billion in loans — have some investors hoping for a price north of $60 a share, even though the retail component of the business hasn’t been faring well. The company has about 75 stores in North America, and supposedly there’s still room for expansion.
When the company reported third-quarter results in October, it said net income fell 18.8 percent to $43.7 million, or 62 cents a diluted share, on a 4.6 percent gain in total revenue to $926.5 million. Comparable store-sales fell 4.2 percent in the quarter. At the time, the company also said it was embarking on a major multiyear corporate restructuring project aimed at lowering its expenses.