Last November, OutdoorHub reported on speculation that Bass Pro Shops, a privately held outdoor retailer, was interested in buying out one of its biggest competitors: Cabela’s. It now appears that Bass Pro is moving forward in making a bid on its rival—with the help of Goldman Sachs. Reuters broke the news this week, reporting that sources say Bass Pro and Goldman Sachs Group’s private equity arm partnered up to make an offer for Cabela’s. The news almost instantly caused Cabela’s shares to jump 8.4 percent, ending up with a 6.4 percent increase to $52.51 on Tuesday. So far, both Cabela’s headquarters and Bass Pro Shops declined to comment on the issue.

Market analysts say that by working with Goldman Sachs, Bass Pro will have certainly have the ability to pursue the purchase of Cabela’s—but they are not the only ones. There are other entities interested in making bids on large outdoor retailer, and sources claim the process is still in its earliest stages. Officially, Cabela’s headquarters said last year that it will be working with an investment bank to explore its options, which may include an outright sale of the company, or just sections of it.

There is currently much speculation, and some concern, on how a sale would proceed. Cabela’s currently has 67 stores operating in North America and employs about 19,300 people. The outdoor retailer was originally founded as a mail-order business in 1961 by its namesake Richard Cabela. Cabela started the company with nothing more than $45 worth of fishing flies, and ran the business from his kitchen table with his wife. Due to incredible demand and its rising popularity, the company grew rapidly, eventually settling in a 50,000 square-foot facility in Sidney, Nebraska. The company’s sprawling headquarters remains in the city to this day.

Some observers say that should a sale to Bass Pro move forward, it is possible that Cabela’s infrastructure would remain more or less intact. The Cabela’s brand is very valuable and experts say that Bass Pro would be wise to preserve that. Leon Nicholas, senior vice president of Kantar Retail, a retail research and consulting firm, told the Omaha World Herald that Bass Pro may seek to keep Cabela’s headquarters operating. Residents of Sidney, where Cabela’s is one of the largest employers, certainly hopes the same.

“I think people are very optimistic that they’re going to stay, at least we are,” Dennis Denovellis, who owns a business in town, told the Herald. “We’ve been here a long, long time and they’ve been here a long, long time.”

Experts add that if Bass Pro does acquire Cabela’s, the company will have a firm grip on the outdoor retail industry and perhaps give greater competition to online giants such as Amazon.


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59 thoughts on “Bass Pro is Moving Forward with Buying Cabela’s

  1. Bass Pro Shop is like the low-rent knock-off of Cabela’s. I can’t think of anything worse happening to Cabela’s than seeing them acquired by that shitty company. If the sale happens Amazon and eBay will be getting my family’s business.

    1. Couldn’t agree more! Done business with both since the 70s. The quality of everything that Bass Pro touches deteriorates, & long backorder waits are SOP. It seems like they don’t actually stock what they sell; &, only order after the customer has actually paid for it! It proves again that ‘Excrement is buoyant!’

      1. Haven’t done business with them for years for that very reason. Morris operated on his customers’ money. Their in-house brand rods & reels were also junk.

      2. Me either. I placed an order and they billed my credit card, after nearly 2 months and several calls, I disputed the charge because I couldn’t get satisfaction. Heck, that was over a decade ago. I haven’t done business with them by mail order and the only time I do so in the stores is if there isn’t another store around and I have to have it.

    2. My business will go to local territorial businesses or Mom & Pop shops that still exist. It’s time big business is sent a message by those who make them what they are.

      1. Soooo….like the local territorial & mom/pops stores like Cabelas & Bass Pro started out as? And you/we as customers demanded so much of them that they turned into ‘big’ business? Classic case of biting the hand that feeds you. YOU made them who they are, don’t hate them for what YOU did.

      2. I demanded of them? I demanded nothing. The hand that feeds you or is it the hand(s) that use you to gorge themselves? Not all mom & pops or territorial stores turn into mega-box stores. Who puts demands on a growing business . . . the financiers, not the people who shop there so much.

  2. I am from the land of Bass Pro. I will go to a Cabelas location and order online from Cabelas but NEVER B.P. I agree with the low rent knock off comment. Again, If this were to occur I would not purchase there again I am sure they dilute the quality of the brand.
    I used to deal with Gander Mt. via mail in the 70’s and 80’s until they were purchased by Cabela’s. We have a few around here , not close but they may be worth a look.

    1. Gander sold their catalog business to Cabela’s, then later Gander bought Overton’s to get back in to the business of mail/email order. Gander is a privately held company owned by the Dvid Pratt and the Erickson family, which own Holiday Gas stations.

      1. Yes, thanks, I should have have expanded the reply to include that it was the mail order aide of the business Cabela’s purchases.
        I used to purchase nearly all of my reloading equipment from Gander and then mysteriously, the catalogs stopped arriving in the mail.

      2. Back as a child just south of Wisconsin, I knew of only Gander Mtn. and hadn’t heard of Cabela’s till maybe the late 60’s. Didn’t spend a dime at Cabela’s till I visited a store in Lacey WA in 2008. Bass Pro rarely if ever has had better pricing than Cabela’s (in my experience). There is a somewhat recently opened (1st in WA) BP and I still prefer the Cabela’s stores in Lacey or Tulalip. BP threw in a bowling alley to attract kids to the store, which means nothing to me at my age. We have a two store outdoor goods supplier here (Seattle area), which gives them a run for the money and they’ve actually been expanding their stores, while battling the superstores. May not have the giant selection and variety, but they can provide all you need and have better or similar pricing on most all products; better service too.

  3. Bass pro is a poor knockoff but understand that a Long time ago Cabelas was great as a company that valued customers more than their dollars. Doing what was right with customer at the core of every decision. That culture died before Richard in the last 3-5 years. Then Wall Street forced the focus change to dollars and culture suffered and Cabelas family was sick about the change. Elliot investors push for sale are putting the final nails in the culture coffin. Amazon eBay Cabelas bass pro will all be the same before long. All are hunting the dollar and none caring about people. Elliot is now the bullet with cabelas name but Wall Street is the root cause

    1. The shame of this case is most Wall Streeters likely have never been outdoors enthusiasts, so the companies that are involved in outdoor pursuits are meaningless to them. The only hunting and fishing those folks do is in the market.

  4. IF Bass Pro purchases Cabela’s they will never see another dollar from me. And, it has NOTHING to do with Bass Pro OR Cabela’s but the partnership with a criminal and corrupt organization AKA Goldman Sacs. If those scum are to derive one dime of income from their arrangement I, for one, will NEVER contribute to their bottom line. Too bad too because I really like Cabela’s.

    1. Count me in there also. Bass Pro has never been competitive with Cabela’s regarding service, price, sales taxes or shipping. If Cabela’s goes, so do I.

    1. Not to worry they will run Cabela’s in the ground like they did with Sea Craft and working on destroying Mako’s once fine name

  5. This would be a sad day in the outdoor enthusiast marketplace if this were to take place. Growing up near the one and only Gander Mountain, then to become familiar with Bass Pro and eventually moving to where there were neither Gander or Bass, but only a Cabela’s about an hour away; Cabela’s is my preferred choice. Yes, companies should be allowed to sell their business, however, this looks to create somewhat of a monopoly even if under two names. When the parent controllers of a chain whether one name or multiple names; there is too much market control placed in the hands of the few and competition is compromised.

  6. I hope they don’t raise the prices at Cabela’s to match theirs, because they are just greedy bastards (Bass Pro), and Bass Pro is TOO high on a lot of their prices. That’s why I shop at Cabela’s and not Bass Pro.

  7. Cabela’s is no where near as expensive as BPS & often has better quality merchandise. We also have a Gander Mountain store in town, so why would we want to ruin it with Cabela’s being sold to BPS. The more competition, the better price, service & selection for all.

    1. Absolutely – competitive Free Enterprise is what made America great! Anyone who thinks monopolies are a good thing should just consider how good a job the federal government does.

  8. Golden Sachs took close to $20 billion of seniors in retirement along with central states pension fund. No wonder they have the help for Bass Pro Shop

  9. Damn! The only time I go to bass pro here in Tacoma, Wash. is if I need it now, and I can’t get to Lacey to Cabelas. I always loved Cabelas. Bass Pro is second rate here in Tacoma! I remember the catalogs coming in the mail, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing deer season would soon be here, or spring fishing. I guess I’ll give up my citizenship, and move to CHINA!!!!!!

    1. This is EXACTLY what I hear all the time. I’m an outfitter at the Tulalip store and my customers always tell me Bass Pro is second rate and they’ll only go there if they need something NOW. I wish Cabela’s corporate and management would get their heads out of the selfish money pit and think about customers who are going to quit giving their business and just go elsewhere. Makes me truly upset to see s**t go down.

      1. I’ve done a little research (internet) and it seems the buyout is being forced by a new “Activist Investor” from New York who has acquired 11% of Cabela’s stock, and they want to merge the two companies so they can lay off people (they won’t need two payroll departments, two legal departments, etc., down the line), so they can increase their own stock values by forcing people out of their jobs. It may seem like 11% is a “small” percentage, but in a large business like Cabela’s not too many investors have that large a say. Typical leveraged buyout bullcrap – the rich get richer and the worker bees go looking for other jobs, except that those jobs all went to China. But, not to worry, Obama says the national unemployment rate is now down to 5%, and if you believe that, I’ve got a good deal for you on some good beachfront property in Oklahoma. Go Trump 2016!

  10. I am an outfitter at the Cabela’s located in Tulalip,and I can tell you firsthand that management is not disclosing anything to their employees, yet changes have been made since these buyout rumors have started. Management tells all the outfitters just to tell the customers “Oh what you’re hearing is all rumors and there is no buyout going on”, yet behind the scenes there are some MAJOR changes. And these things don’t just happen for no reason, especially right when the rumors start. And then management also keeps telling the outfitters over and over again “we can not speculate, we CANNOT speculate”… A red flag something is going down.
    As an outfitter who has been with the company for two years, it is truly sad to see what is going on from within, and the lack of communication going on between management and the outfitters who actually do their job well on the floor.

      1. Bass Pro is way to expensive at least for me. Cabela’s is fine and has a better selection of things. Will be a sad day if this happens! Also why is this happening?

      2. Not a BP fan. This is happening because the majority stockholders want out.
        And yes, a sad day it will be

      3. This is happening because Tommy Millner has put into motion a poor business plan and has decimated the business in doing so. he has opened way too many stores too close to each other and cannot keep the shelves stocked with merchandise which drives business to the internet. go to any Cabela’s during the week now and you can shoot a cannon through the store and not hit a single customer. The stock holders now want out….

    1. Just remember, everything is for sale for the right price, just look what our government has done to our country……

  11. I live two ( 2) miles from Cabela’s and twenty three ( 23) miles form Bass Pro . This Is a shitty deal . I will shop Amazon and eBay . or Sportsman Warehouse .

  12. The expected buyout of Cabela’s is just the latest in a longline of takeovers of strong businesses by much weaker competitors, or predatory hedge funds. America’s business & financial regulations – not to mention shortsighted stockholder greed – seem to make it almost inevitable.
    Despite all our alleged anti-monopoly laws, today’s business climate is a lot like the Highlander: “In the end, there can be but one!”

    1. Yes, and then The One gets to set prices at whatever they want. I like both Cabela’s and BPS and have bought items from both, but I like them better separate.

      1. Politicians & their approved curriculum teaches that the ‘objective’ of Capitalism is to bring us, the consumer, the best products & services at the lowest possible price. They’ve conveniently ‘forgotten the part about ‘thru fair competition.’ The thing that makes it possible. So, the current objective of Capitalism is to put the competition out-of-business. Failing that, to collude with them to fix prices.

    2. Actually Cabela’s is the one who is in trouble and is not in a strong position at all. That is why they are contemplating selling all or part of the company. That is why Bass Pro Shops and others are trying to buy them. Goldman Sachs is supplying a portion of the money to BPS for them to buy Cabelas to make them stronger in total to compete against Amazon. I have shopped at both, but BPS have better pricing for the same item than Cabela’s.

  13. I’ve never done business with either one of them. And now that I saw the name ‘Gold-man Sachs’ in the article, I never will!

  14. THANK GOD for this! Anyone that thinks this is a bad thing clearly hasn’t been paying any attention the last few years. As a lifelong Cabela’s customer and former employee, I can tell you this is nothing but good news. The executives at Cabela’s have absolutely driven the company into the ground since Jim and Dick Cabela walked away from it. Customer service is horrible, selection and quality of products has been going down, and prices are higher than virtually every competitor. Bravo, Bass Pro! Thank you!!!

    1. What have you been smoking? where have they driven it into the GROUND,,have you even SHOPPED there or bought on line….If they are so Destroyed how could they be worth 5.5 BILLION…MORON…BPS SUCK just do some on line PRICING..BPS is always more expensive and there Customer Service is NON -EXISTENT…..Cabela’s is always first RATE and best Prices on almost everything…..Driven into the GROUND your an idiot

  15. Who cares, Cabelas warehouses and distributes cheap chinese slave labor goods…so does Bass Pro…nobody wins.

    1. ‘Somebody’ is wining; but, it’s NOT us! Your right about the Chinese merchandise; but, Cabela’s does carry a lot of Made in the USA products, like St. Croix Rods; etc. Their Customer Service is superb; &, their Visa Card the best I’ve found. Morris will spin-off Visa. Live US Customer Service will be replaced with a “Listen carefully, as our menu has recently changed” Recording; an endless muzak filled wait, where your repeatedly told how ‘important’ your call is to them; &, finally you get to talk with someone in Mumbai, who tells you in an accent you can barely understand, his name is ‘Skippy’, & he can’t help you!

  16. In Michigan we have “Jay’s Sporting Goods” and a few other privately owned stores for hunting and fishing gear.

  17. I live near a Cabelas store, and have enjoyed shopping there over the past few years, but I feel that their prices have been in the higher range for products their competitors also sell. All that fancy retail overhead is costly, and it makes me wonder if they are selling because the margins are too thin to sustain viability in the market. This has been happening in retail business across the board for decades, which we first saw with the big department stores. Now it seems that specialized store giants are experiencing the same fate. As they increase prices to stay afloat, customers are driven toward outlets that offer lower prices, and only the brand loyalists remain to sustain them.

    I have bought many items from Cabelas over the years, but with today’s economic stagnation, it makes patronizing Cabelas seem a bit tougher to justify. People can gripe about Bass Pro all they like, but with tight money and the same goods being available you can’t blame consumers for trying to save money. That is most people’s bottom line.

  18. If BassPro buys Cabela’s I will refuse to shop there. Now I only go to BP if I absolutely have no other choice and need it NOW, I have had to many bad experiences at the gun counter for me to buy merchandise at BP, the people employed there are rude, thinks only a man knows about guns and quite frankly are they themselves grossly uneducated about the firearms they are trying to sell. So while Cabela’s maybe a tad bit more expensive and 20 more miles away, I will go there every time.

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