Bass Pro Shops has reached a deal to acquire outdoors retail competitor Cabela's and take the company private in a deal valued at $5.5 billion, according to a story in USA Today.
It was not immediately clear whether the acquisition would result in any store closures, but the companies said in a statement that Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops would "celebrate and grow" the Cabela's brand.
The deal comes about 10 months after Sidney, Neb.-based Cabela's effectively put itself up for sale at the urging of hedge fund Elliott Management, which had declared the hunting-and-fishing retailer undervalued and called for the company to consider a sale or reorganization.
Long known for large-format destination stores, Cabela's has lost ground to smaller, nimbler competitors and online retailers. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.3% in the first half of 2016, compared to a year earlier, according to a securities filing.
The deal marks a dramatic expansion of the outdoor retailing empire controlled by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972. The billionaire will lead the newly combined entity as CEO and will retain majority ownership.
Bass Pro Shops has about 99 stores and 20,000 employees. Cabela's has about 85 stores and had about 19,700 employees at the end of 2015, according to securities filing.
Bass Pro Shops said it plans to maintain Cabela's operations in Sidney and Lincoln, Neb. "and hopes to continue the very favorable connections to those communities and the Cabela’s team members residing there."
The companies said they expect the deal to be approved in the first half of 2017.