It’s impossible to imagine two stores more authentically American than the hunting/fishing empires of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. In a landmark move, today Bass Pro Shops announced that it will be buying Cabela’s for $5.5 billion.
Bass Pro Shops — which remains privately held, largely by Johnny Morris, who started the company 45 years ago in his father’s liquor store near Springfield, Mo. — plans to purchase Cabela’s for about $65.50 a share in cash, according to a statement on Monday. Cabela’s said on Dec. 1 that it was exploring strategic alternatives. The takeover price represents a 40 percent premium to where its shares were trading that day.
The deal marries Cabela’s 19,000 employees with Bass Pro Shop’s 20,000, and adds 85 Cabela’s stores to Bass Pro Shops’ 99. Bass Pro Shops also operates the White River Marine Group, which makes fishing boats.
The coolest thing about the press release, however, the statement Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris gave about such a deal “only being possible in America.”
“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 Mr. Morris, the chief executive 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.”
It’s nice to see a billionaire like Morris, who is worth an estimated $3.9 billion, not talk down our wonderful country for once. Excited to see what happens next in the Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s empire.