Bass Pro Shops to acquire Cabela’s for $5.5B


(WJHL) – Two iconic American outdoor companies will combine. Bass Pro Shops announced Monday morning it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Cabela’s for $5.5 billion.

The Tri-Cities is home to both a Bass Pro Shops store in Bristol, TN and a Cabela’s store in Bristol, VA.

The Cabela’s store in Bristol, VA opened fall of 2015. The 82,000 square-foot store is located at 361 Cabela Drive near Exit 5 off Interstate 81 along Lee Highway. The Tri-Cities’ store is located in the Falls development and is backed by taxpayers of Bristol, VA. The city has borrowed more than $50 million to pay for the project, which also included some road improvements.

The Bass Pro Shops store is located at the Pinnacle development along exit 74 off Interstate 81 in Bristol, TN.

A spokesperson for Bass Pro Shops told us there will be no immediate impact at stores, they also said it’s business at usual at both companies.

Tanza Smith, Communications Coordinator for Bass Pro Shops told us via email, “Regarding the acquisition of Cabela’s, there will be no immediate impact to our stores. Until the transaction is complete, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s will operate as separate companies.”

The deal is expected to close the first half of 2017. Smith also added,”Transactions involving publicly traded companies are governed by several regulations that limit our ability to comment or speculate on anything beyond what is included in our news release.”

When we asked Bristol, Virgina’s Mayor Bill Hartley about what impact this could have on The Falls, he said it’s too early to tell.

“I just saw the announcement, I’ve yet to see any details, who knows when those will be worked out, or what will come out of that so to say anything, like I say, would just be speculation,” Hartley said.

Steve Johnson, developer for the Pinnacle gave us this statement: “This acquisition will have no effect on the Bass Pro Shops located at The Pinnacle due to our 25 continuous operating clause in the lease. We are not certain of what consequences this acquisition may have on The Falls,” Johnson said.

As far as the details of the merger nationwide, Bass Pro is paying $65.40 cash per share.

In addition, Bass Pro is entering a multi-year partnership with Capital One to service the Cabela’s Club co-branded credit card. Bass Pro says Cabela’s stores, catalog business and e-commerce “will blend seamlessly” with Bass Pro Shops current operations.

The following is a statement from Bass Pro’s press release: “ Bass Pro Shops 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. In addition, Bass Pro Shops recognizes the strength of Cabela’s CLUB Loyalty program and intends to honor Cabela’s customer rewards and sees potential over time to expand the program in the combined company.”

Cabela’s was founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela. Cabela’s has operates 85 specialty retail stores.

Bass Pro Shops was founded in 1972 by Johnny Morris. It currently has 99 stores under its umbrella.

“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.”

Last fall, Cabela’s was seeking a buyer and looking at various alternatives after its shares were down nearly 20%.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

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