Cabela’s Inc. (NYSE: CAB) agreed to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a $5.5 billion deal, handing a victory to the activist investor that had been pushing the outdoor-sports equipment retailer to put itself for sale.
In other lifestyle and outdoor related deals, in 2015, Norwest Equity Partners has picked up a stake in ski and snowboard equipment retailer Christy Sports and Johnson Outdoors said it will add underwater watch maker Seabear.
The offer of $65.50 a share in cash represents a 19 percent premium to Cabela’s most recent closing price, the companies said in a statement. Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) is acquiring Cabela’s $5.2 billion credit card receivables portfolio, according to a separate statement.
The deal, which unites two of America’s largest outdoors retailers, comes almost a year after Elliott Associates began pushing Cabela’s to consider a sale. The chain, which had built a following among hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, came under pressure after revenue and profit growth sputtered.
Cabela’s, founded by brothers Richard and Jim Cabela in 1961, said in October of 2016 that “significant weakness” in its fall apparel and footwear contributed to a disappointing third quarter. Less than a week later, Elliott disclosed an 11 percent stake and said it would push for a shakeup. The company began a strategic review of its business in December 2016.
In winning the bidding for Cabela’s, Bass Pro beat out competition from private equity bidder Sycamore Partners, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Cabela’s card portfolio is issued by its World’s Foremost Bank subsidiary, which employs 700 people and is based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The retailer had about 1.9 million active accounts in 2015, a 6.8 percent increase from a year earlier, according to its latest annual report. The average balance on cards in the portfolio last year was $2,301, the company said.
Bass Pro was founded by Johnny Morris in 1972, working out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri. Morris is worth about $3.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
-- Additional reporting by Mergers & Acquistions' Demitri Diakantonis