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Bass Pro Shop Snags Competitor For $4.5 Billion

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Bass Pro Shops purchased its largest competitor in the market for outdoor products for $4.5 billion in cash Monday.

For 55 years, Cabela’s outdoor outfitter proudly served American outdoor lovers, thrill seekers, and sportsmen across the nation in its 85 locations. The store is so popular it even has its own credit card, which stands as a status symbol for hunters, campers, and fisherman alike. Cabela’s subsidiary, World’s Foremost Bank, was founded more than a decade ago to launch the credit card program and stands as one of the few remaining co-branded credit card programs in all of retail, the Times reports.

Cabela’s was at one point the largest tourist destination in Michigan.

With such a large following and so many stores across the U.S., it comes as no surprise that Bass Pro Shops was interested in striking a deal to acquire Cabela’s operation. After a ten month long negotiating process, Bass Pro was able to reach an agreement with Cabela’s leadership.

Bass Pro agreed to purchase Cabela’s for $65.50 a share, the Journal reports.

The $4.5 billion merger creates a supply chain of 180 stores with nearly 40,000 employees. It also means Bass Pro now holds over 20 percent of the $50 billion market for outdoor supplies. John Morris, Bass Pro Shops CEO and founder, will act as the chief executive for the new company.

Decreasing stock values and missing the boat with high-end hunters, a key demographic in the outdoor market, all are contributing to Cabela’s new direction. As the company grew nationally, it supplanted higher-end gear with products that would meet the needs of a wider audience. Merging with Bass Pro, a company known for its extravagant stores and wide variety of products, was a move that will likely bring those key customers back.

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Robert Donachie