Bass Pro Shops to acquire Cabela’s for $4.5B

Proposed Butler County Bass Pro Shops store up in the air until transaction is finished.

Outdoor gear company Bass Pro Shops announced it will acquire Cabela’s for $4.5 billion.

“The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system,” said Jonny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. “We have enormous admiration for Cabela’s, its founders and outfitters, and its loyal base of customers.”

Both Bass Pro and Cabela’s have a big presence in this region. Cabela’s has a 70,000-square-foot store at 5500 Cornerstone North Blvd., in the Cornerstone at Centerville development off exit 7 of Interstate 675 near Wilmington Pike, and a location in West Chester Twp. The stores employ about 130 employees.

Bass Pro Shops has a location in Forest Fair at 300 Cincinnati Mills Drive and has had plans to build one in West Chester Twp.

A spokesman from Bass Pro Shops said until the transaction of Monday’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Cabela’s is finalized, they will continue to operate as two companies.

“As of today, we cannot make comments as it relates to the pending transaction with Cabela’s,” said Jack Wlezien, spokesman for Bass Pro Shops.

Wlezien said because Cabela’s is a publicly traded company and there are a number of federal regulations that need to be followed while the transaction is pending. He said the transaction is expected to close sometime in 2017. Bass Pro Shops is a privately-owned company.

He said the planned West Chester store, which is about five miles south of the new Cabela’s which opened about a year ago across from Liberty Center off Interstate 75, remains in the developmental and planning stages. Wlezien said the new store was in the development/planning stage because of the construction of new infrastructure. The new extension of Civic Centre Boulevard is expected to be completed by year’s end.

Bass Pro Shops purchased the property off the new Civic Centre Boulevard extension north of Allen Road on April 29, according to real estate records from the Butler County Auditor’s Office website.

More than two years ago, Bass Pro Shops announced plans to build the new West Chester store and close the current one at Forest Fair Village off I-275 and move those employees to the new West Chester store. The company had planned to build a new 150,000 square foot store in West Chester, but reduced the size of the store to 120,149 square feet.

Barb Wilson, West Chester Twp. spokeswoman, said there have been no construction or other permits applied for or issued for the planned store.

Cabela’s is headquartered in Nebraska, and it is not immediately apparent how jobs in the area will be impacted by the acquisition. Cabela’s is been open for 55 years, and has 85 specialty retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“Cabela’s is pleased to have found the ideal partner in Bass Pro Shops,” said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s chief executive officer. “Having undertaken a thorough strategic review, during which we assessed a wide variety of options to maximize value, the Board unanimously concluded that this combination with Bass Pro Shops is the best path forward for Cabela’s, its shareholders, outfitters and customers.”

The agreement will give Cabela’s shareholders $65.50 per share in cash, according to a company statement.

As part of the deal, Capital One will also take over Cabela's credit card unit. The deal is backed by $1.8 billion from Goldman Sachs, and another $600 million in financing from Pamplona Capital, a private equity fund.

Reporter Ed Richter and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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