The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper


Bass Pro Shops Acquisition Of Cabela’s Complete

Series: 2017 Year in Review | Story 5

December 29, 2017

Through SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) filings and a combined press release, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops announced the companies’ merger was completed Sept. 25, with Bass Pro acquiring the locally-born outdoor retailer for approximately $5 billion.

While specifics on the operation of some portions of Cabela’s Sidney operations weren’t made available, the announcement and information provided by the company said that operations will continue while promoting both the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s brands.

“We look forward to growing and celebrating conservation as we work to provide our combined customer base with enhanced product offerings, unique outdoor experiences and unrivaled services,” said Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. “As we move forward, we are committed to retaining everything customers love about both Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s by creating a ‘best-of-the-best’ experience that includes the superior products, outstanding customer service and exceptional value our customers have come to expect. We’re also deeply motivated by the potential to significantly advance key conservation initiatives.”

In the press release, the companies said completion of the transaction “marks a historic moment for American outdoor enthusiasts.”

In a related action, Synovus Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. completed its acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of World’s Foremost Bank (WFB), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cabela’s Incorporated for approximately $1.2 billion. Synovus also completed the sale of WFB’s credit card assets and related liabilities to Capital One Bank. Capital One will be the exclusive issuing partner of Cabela’s branded CLUB Visa program pursuant to a 10-year program agreement.

The companies both added a section “Moving Forward Together” to their respective websites. The section has video and written presentations expounding the advantages of services under the merger, reiterating that each company will continue to operate and grow under its own brand.

None of the information presented to that point indicated the future of Cabela’s Corporate operations or how corporate or other local jobs might be affected.

Filings show Cabela’s management privately discussed selling the company as early as June 2015.

Elliott Management, a New York-based hedge fund, declared an 11 percent stake in October 2015, saying it would press for a sale. Elliott was in contact with Cabela’s before its declaration.

It was reported Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris called Cabela’s Director Mike McCarthy about a week after Elliott went public to indicate his company was interested in buying Cabela’s. Bass Pro officially announced one year later it would buy Cabela’s for $5.5 billion. Cabela’s co-founder Jim Cabela was initially against the proposed sale to Bass Pro without guarantee that the Sidney headquarters would stay open.

In July, the sale received crucial go-ahead from shareholders. According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, approximately 78 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock voted in favor of the proposal. Roughly 54 million voted in favor of the merger, with only 154,853 against and 233,896 abstaining.

Throughout the process, little information has been given about Cabela’s-related jobs. The first real indication came in part last week, when a report surfaced that said Cabela’s will retain some jobs in Sidney, but it’s still unclear how many will be lost. The report was made by the Omaha World Herald, which said a letter was sent to employees by the chief executive of Bass Pro Shops.

In its article, the World Herald reported that the letter said the company will keep Cabela’s information technology division, which employs 125 people. The letter says “significant” accounting operations also will remain in Sidney, although it didn’t say what operations or how many people the division would employ. The distribution center in Sidney also will remain.

The report said the letter told employees the company is continuing to work on evaluating which jobs will stay in Sidney, which ones will go to Springfield and which ones need to be eliminated.

The story did say some employees will lose their jobs, and those that do will receive severance packages.

Remaining corporate employees in Sidney will be consolidated into one of the Cabela’s office buildings. Bass Pro will make the other buildings available for lease to qualified businesses who may want to relocate to Sidney.


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