Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box last Friday to talk about holiday sales for the outdoor retail chain. The conversation quickly turned to rumors concerning a possible purchase of Cabela’s, a large and popular competitor.
Morris was certainly expecting the question after the rumors were first reported earlier this month. As Squawk Box’s co-anchor Joe Kernen pointed out, the merger of the two companies could make the resulting entity a powerful force in the world of outdoor retail.
“That’d be a hell of a combination, you’ve got to admit, because you’re more East, they’re more West, right?” Kernen asked.
Morris acknowledged the rumors but gave no definitive answer.
“There’s a lot of rumors from this. Who knows where they’ll lead, if anywhere, but we have a high regard for that company,” Morris said. “Both our companies grew up pretty much the same way, from passion of the founders around the outdoors. There’s so many great people there. It’s a great brand we respect.”
Morris started Bass Pro Shops in 1971 from the back of his father’s liquor store before selling fishing tackle in a mail-order catalog. Similarly, Dick Cabela and his wife started their business selling hand-tied flies from their kitchen just 10 years earlier. Both companies were founded by self-made men and emphasize hard work and passion for their industry. Currently Morris has a a net worth of $3.9 billion and is ranked the 133st richest person in America by Forbes.
If Bass Pro did acquire Cabela’s, it would nearly double their number of stores in North America. So far no spokespeople from either company have confirmed that such a deal is in the works.
The question regarding Cabela’s occurs around the 1:40 mark in the video below.