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Bass Pro Shops hooks Cabela's in $5.5 billion deal

SIDNEY, Neb. — Fishing and hunting equipment chain Cabela's Inc. said it agreed to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will help the privately held company nearly double its store count in North America.

The offer of $65.50 per share is a 19.2 percent premium to Cabela's close on Friday, Sept. 30.

Shares of Cabela's jumped nearly 15 percent to $63.00 in early trading, their highest in more than a year. Up to Friday close, they had risen 17 percent since the company said in December it was exploring strategic alternatives.

Cabela's has struggled with declining sales of apparel and footwear and has reported same-store sales growth in only one quarter in more than three years.

Reuters reported on Sunday that a consortium of Bass Pro Shops, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s private equity arm and Capital One Financial Corp was in the lead to buy the company.

The combined company will own 184 stores in the United States and Canada.

Cabela's operates several stores in the Upper Midwest, including four in Minnesota, two in South Dakota, four in Wisconsin and three in Montana.

In Minnesota, the outdoor sporting goods retailer has in East Grand Forks, Owatonna, Rogers and Woodbury. Both Mitchell and Rapid City have store locations in South Dakota while Wisconsin offers retail spots in Prairie du Chien, Richfield, Green Bay and Sun Prairie. Montana locations are in Billings, Missoula and Kalispell.

Cabela's also agreed to sell its credit card business called "World's Foremost Bank" to Capital One Financial Corp, which will forge a 10-year partnership with Bass Pro Shops to issue credit cards to Cabela's customers.

Capital One spokeswoman Pam Girardo said terms of the transaction would not be disclosed.

Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris will continue as CEO and majority shareholder of the combined company, which will remain private.

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