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Bass Pro, one of the nations largest outdoors retailer, will buy Cabela’s for $5.5 billion.

That’s a lot of fishing poles and camping supplies.  And Under Armour clothes.

USA Today has the story:

Bass Pro Shops has reached a deal to acquire outdoors retail competitor Cabela’s and take the company private in a deal valued at $5.5 billion, the companies said Monday.

It was not immediately clear whether the acquisition would result in any store closures, but the companies said in a statement that Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops would “celebrate and grow” the Cabela’s brand.

The deal comes about 10 months after Sidney, Neb.-based Cabela’s effectively put itself up for sale at the urging of hedge fund Elliott Management, which had declared the hunting-and-fishing retailer undervalued and called for the company to consider a sale or reorganization.

Long known for large-format destination stores, Cabela’s has lost ground to smaller, nimbler competitors and online retailers. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.3% in the first half of 2016, compared to a year earlier, according to a securities filing.

The number of purchases at Cabela’s stores fell 8.1% during that period, reflecting a drop-off in foot traffic as customers bought less clothing and footwear from the retailer, although hunting sales increased and average revenue per transaction rose 8.2%.

The deal marks a dramatic expansion of the outdoor retailing empire controlled by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972. The billionaire will lead the newly combined entity as CEO and will retain majority ownership.

Bass Pro Shops has about 99 stores and 20,000 employees. Cabela’s has about 85 stores and had about 19,700 employees at the end of 2015, according to securities filing.

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  1. I wonder how this will affect the Denver area, which has two Cabela’s and a BPS all of which seem to do quite a brisk business.

    • My question too. I tend to prefer the Cabelas location in Thornton,hoping they don’t close the Cabelas stores.

      • I’m in kind of the same situation. I used to work more south and went to the Lone Tree location quite a bit. I now work in Commerce City. It makes getting to BPS easy, and I now utilize the Thornton Cabela’s location. Cabela’s has better pricing on ammo than BPS. I wonder what it is going to do to prices?

      • I like the Thornton location too but I have to say that I will go to BPS if what I need is fishing/boat related.

        In my experience the Lone Tree location has a lot more selection of gently used handguns at pretty reasonable prices though.

        • I’m only a couple of miles from the Thornton Cabela’s. I can get there in under 10 minutes. Bass Pro, on the other hand, is a challenge to reach.. As for merchandising and private label gear, I’ve always preferred Cabela’s., although I did have better luck finding powder and primers at Bass Pro during the shortage a couple of years back.

          I seriously doubt that both brands will survive, as generally ego (and economics) dictate that one or the other goes away.

      • I can’t see them closing any of the three stores. For the south half of the Denver metro area, the Lone Tree location is great. If it closes, they give the customer base to Gander Mountain, which just open a nice store in Parker (Parker rd and E-470) which I guess was really a move from their old store off 225 and Peoria.

        Bass Pro is by Stapleton, which is way to far of a drive for me. Would rather drive to the one North of Colorado Springs.

        So I think those three, Bass Pro at Stapleton, Cabela’s in Lone Tree and Northglenn covers most of the Denver area really well.

      • I hate bass. Predatory species that whipes out the trout and amphibians. Dumbarse bucket biologists dump bass int mountain lakes thinking they are improving the fishing experience. Instead they upset the whole shebang killing the natives.

        So anything with bass pro in the name is a trash fish in my book.

    • And here I have been wishing that the Bass Pro at the north end of Colorado Springs had been a Cabela’s.

      I think this worked out the wrong way, Cabela’s should have bought Bass Pro’s worthless asses out.

        • Haven’t been in there for a while-guess I need to get back and check them out. I do prefer them to the Gander on the east side of I-25.

        • Yep. Time to start shopping at sportsmans warehouse again on 84th and I-25

          Or alternatively for us folks south of Monument Hill, the one at Platte and Chelton.

    • Well, I guess that’s one way for us in Colorado Springs to get a “Cabelas” 🙂

      You know, that podunk little town where they don’t even have paved streets (Bloomberg quote about Colorado Springs).


  2. Bristol Virginia/Tennessee recently got both a Bass Pro and a Cabela’s within 5 miles of each other. People are afraid the Cabela’s will be closed. I think they will keep both because one is in Virginia and the other is in Tennessee and I’m sure they are both on long term leases. With firearm sales, a store in each state would be beneficial for everyone. I can’t go to Bass Pro and buy and gun and my son-in-law can go to Cabela’s and buy one.

  3. They both offer a similar retail experience to be honest, but, I don’t think that having less choice is great for the consumer.

    I have purchased a few firearms from Cabela’s, if you find them on sale, or perhaps on the clearance rack because of a wrong order etc, you can find some reasonable pricing. Now I just go to the LGS (independently owned) and they can usually get pretty close on pricing.

    However, it is much easier to spend a few hours browsing in the likes of Cabela’s, Bass Pro shops etc!

    • I agree, I generally don’t like to see huge companies gobble each other up because it means less competition in the market.

      But I think the biggest competitor for Bass Pro and Cabelas is Larry Potterfield. Lots of other online retailers keep the margins thin.

      • sorry, but i disagree on Midway. as someone who does a significant amount of online shopping (with no brick and mortar Cabelas or Bass Pro in our state), Midway’s shipping prices and policies are outrageous. they gouge you on shipping pricing to make up profit (well above actual shipping rates), and the worst part is if an item you ordered is backordered in an order with other existing available items to be shipped, Midway will charge you (high) shipping rates twice (or more). I do not think any online retailers handle shipping of back ordered items this way and it is obnoxious. typically, you pay shipping once on your order. I avoid shopping at Midway because of this

  4. I thought this was old news. The Cabela’s by us has been selling off all it’s Cabela’s branded stuff for months.

    • I had heard that Bass Pro Shops was going to buy Cabela’s so long ago that I could not understand why it had not already happened.

    • True… As a Missourian, I’m happy to see BPS grow. But as a relatively new gun enthusiast, I feel like Cabelas had better pricing on guns and especially ammo. Unfortunately, both had better pricing than Gander Mountain on just about everything. Of the three, GM is closest to my house, and I feel like I’ve always spent more for the convenience.

    • So meanwhile in Houston, we have two Gander Mountains, a Bass Pro, Academys out the wazoo and soon a Dick’s opening next month.
      Let the pricing battle (in Houston) begin!

  5. Cabellas prices on firearms are always 20 to 30 percent higher than smaller gun stores. The only thing they had going from them is they’re not called dicks sporting goods.

      • I pointed out how much over MSRP gander mountain was on a firearm. The employee told me whatever site I was looking at was wrong, and that they were under MSRP. After proving him wrong by going to the manufacturer’s website, I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about and asked to leave. It’s rare when I go to a gander mountain since that event.

  6. The number of purchases at Cabela’s stores fell 8.1% during that period, reflecting a drop-off in foot traffic as customers bought less clothing and footwear from the retailer, although hunting sales increased and average revenue per transaction rose 8.2%.

    Consumers are now sharing the “Cabela” budget with their obamacare tax penalty. Other’s not paying the insurance enforcement tax have seen their healthcare premiums quadruple in price right alongside their deductible. Sorry Cabelas – just no funds.

    • “stupid high prices”? I bought some shearling slippers from LL Bean (talk about stupid high prices) at about 30% more than Cabelas because LL Bean is supposed to have such good quality.
      My toes came through the front of the slippers within 6 mos. of in house wear, sent them back, replacement pair did the exact thing on the opposite foot.
      Switched back to Cabelas & it’s been at least a year now with the slippers still going strong.
      My first & last purchase from LL Bean.
      So what if they’ve got free shipping.
      Bought baseline cabelas brand breathable waders: best & longest lasting breathable waders I’ve ever owned.

      • I think you missed the point. Bass Pro has stupid high prices. Now that Bass Pro owns Cabela’s, Cabela’s will have stupid high prices too.

        Got it?

  7. Not a fan of Bass. I buy pretty much all my ammo at Cabelas(Herters is good stuff). I’ve bought a couple guns at Cabelas too. I hope Cabelas stays because I can’t imagine buying ANYTHING at Bass…Cabelas is much more a gun store.

    • The Herters ammo just will not function in my CZs–at least, the plastic clad stuff doesn’t. On the other hand, my full size is getting cranky in its old age.

      But in the main I tend to agree. Bass Pro is a fishing shop first, a hunting/shooting shop second. Cabelas was more the other way around, and has/had VASTLY better ammo selection.

      On the other hand, after Illary gets elected, fishing might be all we have left.

      • Try the FMJ stuff in the black boxes. Not just a different bullet, but different manufacturer.

        • Yeah the Herters inthe black&red boxes loaded by Sellier&Bellot. Never a misfire in thousands of rounds. Picked up many rounds at 10.00/50round. And the shotgun ammo works great for much less than Remington or Federal. I got no idea of plastic covered rounds Steve…is that Aluminum crap?

        • Yah, come to think of it they were aluminum cased, too. (I don’t have any objection to that, by the way.) The bullets were clad in blue colored plastic, nylon I think.

          The fact that you have no idea what I’m talking about makes me hope they discontinued the shit.

        • Oh I’ve seen the blue Herters Steve. It’s usually more than brass cased ammo. I’ve never shot steel or aluminium out of my guns(and the local ranges don’t allow it).

  8. It’s funny…we just went to the Bass Pro Shops store in metro Detroit. We walked out of it noting how it seemed a little underwhelming compared with the Cabela’s store we had been to previously near Wheeling, West Virginia.

    I hope that isn’t foreshadowing.

    • It probably IS foreshadowing, I hate to tell you. As others have noted, Bass Pro sells for too much (albeit not as ridiculous as Gander Mountain) and is much less gun-oriented than Cabela’s. So the (soon-to-be-former) Cabela’s store will probably simply sink to AssPro’s level of crapitude.

  9. A new Cabala’s super store opened in my neck of the woods a couple of years ago. Cabela’s has some good deals, you just have to shop for them a bit and wait for sales. It does good business around here and is always busy, so I don’t see them closing it. I like having them around.

  10. I like Cabelas. Generally good experiences there, both in-store and online. But they were stupid enough to build their store just inside the Cook County line, where the sales tax is higher and they have that unconstitutional extra tax on guns & ammo. It’s hard to justify going there, and those reasons won’t go away unless they relocate to a free county.

  11. I find a lot of good deals in Cabela’s, Bass Pro not so much. The prices at Bass Pro were much higher. The Cabela’s in Kansas City, KS is where I got a lot of great deals on milsurp rifles. Prices that would have cost me about $150-200 in a private sell. I joked with some other people that the appraiser must have been drunk when he appraised the rifles. I wonder how this will affect the Cabela’s stores now?

  12. We still don’t have one within 50 miles of Corpus Christi. You’d think we’d be a great spot for Bass Pro.

  13. So all the Cabela’s FFL paper based databases will be headed to the ATF to not be digitized and online databased.

  14. “The number of purchases at Cabela’s stores fell 8.1% during that period, reflecting a drop-off in foot traffic as customers bought less clothing and footwear from the retailer, although hunting sales increased and average revenue per transaction rose 8.2%.”

    The US has plenty of places selling (mostly imported) clothing and footwear. But, that seems to be the big pond of the market that they all want to be the big fish of.

    They could have stuck to hunting and fishing, and quite likely grown.

    Now instead of two big stores that never have the outdoor stuff you need because all the space is devoted to clothes, there’ll be one. And then Johnny Morris can buy MidwayUSA, which seems to have fewer gun parts and more clothes every month.

    If I seem curmudgeonly today, I got a right: Raise your hand if you too remember when Abercrombie & Fitch was a high-end outfitter and purveyor of bespoke firearms.

  15. who cares? The only reason I shop at Cabella’s is because they just opened one in League City Tx., Less than a mile from my home, but to get my Weaver K6 I still have to order it online. WHO CARES?!?!?!? Why can’t SOMEONE near me have what I want on the damned shelf???????!!!!!

  16. There’s just so much hunting, camping, gun, bow or boat stuff folks can buy.

    Any money folks know what this means? Worth more so they should sell their company?

    “hedge fund Elliott Management, which had declared the hunting-and-fishing retailer undervalued and called for the company to consider a sale or reorganization.”

    • Activist investor. He bought an 11% stake in the company a year ago. Then called for its sale. The real prize in cabelas portfolio is their credit card business.

  17. I like Cabelas and don’t much care for Bass Pro. They opened a new Cabelas near me a bit over a year ago and I have bought ammo and one gun when it was on sale. If they close it I won’t be going to Bass Pro as it is just too far, and there are better choices closer.

  18. Cabelas has more hunting stuff than Bass Pro and their ammo selection is very good. Hopefully they don’t change that.


  19. Too bad they didn’t buy Gander Mountain to reduce their damnably-overpriced-ridiculously-rude-staff @GM.

    But hey, maybe Bass Pro Cabalas will put them out of business and into bankruptcy-hunger where they belong. Never seen such ridiculous pricing or blatantly-unknowlegable-gunshop-snobbery-workers than at Gander Mountain,

  20. Bass pro might know about fishing and boating in the south, but they don’t know fishing in the west worth a damn.
    When the big bass pro opened in Denver I went in looking for reloading materials, they had nothing on the shelves and when I asked them about it they looked like I was speaking to them in Greek. To bad about Cabelas, it looks like greed killed another great American company. I won’t support Bass Pro. They can eat their high prices. If I am going to spend a lot I might as well support the little guy.

  21. It’s funny. I would have thought the other way around. In Missouri, I see Bass Pro going downhill, less selection, bad prices, generally empty shelves, uninterested staff. Yet, at Cabelas, it’s very pleasant, decent selection most of the time, better prices, helpful staff, more upscale store, just far superior. If you reload or shoot, you would simply never go to Bass Pro. With shortages already starting, got some reloading stuff at Cabelas recently that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I hope Bass Pro doesn’t ruin Cabelas.

  22. Bass Pro has long been one of my least favorite outdoors retailers, up there with Gander Mountain because of high prices. Cabela’s has long been on of my favorite retailers and I’ve bought a lot of stuff from them, mostly during their free shipping offers.

    Now that Cabela’s is going to be owned by Bass Pro, I don’t think I’ll be ordering stuff from them online much longer. Sportsman’s Guide is going to win big from this deal.

  23. Bass Pro is a joke. Cabela’s around here had ok pricing on ammo of.the few places with reloading components regularly in stock. Now I don’t.know where I’ll buy anything. The little guys don’t sell reloading here, and the only companies that do are Gander (yuck) and Mills Fleet Farm. But FF often has low selection and some items out of stock.

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