Bass Pro Shops Reels In Cabela’s For $5.5 Billion

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

A year chock-full of mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies in consumer-facing businesses is chalking up another deal. This time, it’s the realm of the outdoors: Bass Pro Shops is dropping several billion dollars to snap up competitor Cabela’s.

The companies formally announced today that they had entered into a purchase agreement. Bass Pro Shops is acquiring Cabela’s for $65.50 per share in cash, to the total tune of $5.5 billion.

The goal, the statement says, is to bring a bunch of “highly complementary business philosophies [and] product offerings” under one roof. It also helps out with geography: although both chains operate in several states, Bass Pro Shops has more presence in the northeast and Cabela’s is stronger in the northwest.

Cabela’s also backs a credit card, through Capital One. The statement from Cabela’s promises that upon completion of the deal, Bass Pro Shops will begin a multi-year agreement with Capital One to maintain the Cabela’s CLUB credit card. “Bass Pro Shops will maintain a seamless integration between the credit card program and the combined companies’ retail operations and deep customer relationships,” Cabela’s promises.

All loyalty points and programs at both stores will also be unaffected by the merger, the statement says.

The really amazing part is how long it took for the two companies to reach a deal: Reuters first reported last November — yes, 11 months ago — that Bass Pro Shops was considering the acquisition. At that time, the deal was valued at closer to $3 billion.

So it’s not a shock that Cabela’s finally, after a year of thought, chose to sell itself off. After all, as we noted back in April, it’s a tough market out there for sporting goods retail. If the two biggest names in “experience”-based outdoorsy retail want to pool their resources, it’s not terribly surprising.