UPDATED: Whoa! Bass Pro Shops Exploring Purchase of Cabela’s?


Reuters news service is reporting that Bass Pro Shops is considering an offer to purchase all or part of Cabela’s, which would put the publicly-traded company under the control of its privately held Missouri-based competitor.

Reuters cited unidentified sources that said Bass Pro Shops officials are working with an investment bank “on the potential offer.” It said Cabela’s, “targeted by activist investor Elliott Management,” also is considering its options. Reuters said officials from Bass Pro Shops declined to comment and Cabela’s officials did not respond to inquires.

Bass Pro Shops was founded in the 1970s by Johnny Morris, starting in a small corner of his father’s liquor store with outdoors items. Its retail stores around found now throughout the United States and Canada with a wide array of sporting and outdoors gear, apparel, restaurants and more.

Cabela’s was founded by brothers Dick and Jim Cabela in Nebraska, starting with their mail-order fly fishing flies and today also has stores throughout the United States and Canada with outdoors, sporting and cooking items along with apparel.

Stores of both are destination stops for visitors who enjoy shopping along with the taxidermy mounts, local flavor of photos and memorabilia, boating repair service and large aquariums.

UPDATE (11-6-15, 5:20 p.m.) The Omaha World-Herald published a story Friday that cites a longtime resident of Cabela’s headquarters city as saying the town is “on pins and needles” about news regarding the situation with Bass Pro Shops and the Cabela’s investors reportedly pushing for changes.

Regarding the reports, the newspaper reported that “everybody is on pins and needles,” said Oscar Glover, a longtime Sidney entrepreneur and developer. The company employs about 2,000 people in the city of 6,800.

The story offers insight into the finances for both companies, too.

It was the latest jolt to the Panhandle city since last week, when activist investor Elliott Management disclosed its big stake in Cabela’s, raising the specter of selling the company or carving it into pieces. The retailer has stumbled lately, struggling with declining sales. Its stock price had fallen about 37 percent since the beginning of the year at the time Elliott announced its stake.

At the end of its 2014 fiscal year, Cabela’s operated 64 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada and employed 19,300 people. It had $3.65 billion in revenue, including merchandise sales and revenue from its credit card business. Privately held Bass Pro Shops sees about $4.25 billion in sales annually, according to Forbes. The company operates 94 retail stores in the United States and Canada, employing about 20,000.

Read the full report here.


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