OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Bass Pro Shops’ roughly $4 billion acquisition of rival outdoor retailer Cabela’s is complete, but the small western Nebraska town that has been home to Cabela’s is still wondering about its future.
Monday’s closing announcement didn’t address how many of the roughly 2,000 Cabela’s jobs will remain in Sidney, Nebraska.
Bass Pro has said it expects to keep some operations in Sidney, but redundant headquarters jobs will likely be consolidated in Bass Pro’s hometown of Springfield, Missouri.
The uncertainty about Cabela’s future in Sidney has hurt business and slowed down the local real estate market in the town of fewer than 7,000. But many residents remain optimistic. The city endured the loss of roughly 2,000 jobs once before when the Sioux Army Depot closed in 1967.
“I believe that Bass Pro will find Sidney very attractive, and the city will be very willing to work with the company just as it did with Cabela’s,” said city council member Wendall Gaston.
Cabela’s shareholders are receiving $61.50 per share in the merger. The remaining company will be privately held.
As part of the deal, Cabela’s credit-card unit was sold to Synovus bank, which received $75 million to act as a middleman. Synovus also kept $1.1 billion in deposits before reselling the credit card business to Capital One.
Both outdoor companies had humble beginnings.
Cabela’s was founded in 1961 when Dick Cabela started selling fishing flies through the mail from his kitchen table with his wife, Mary, and brother, Jim.
Bass Pro got its start in 1971 when founder Johnny Morris began selling high-quality fishing tackle in his dad’s liquor store in Springfield.
Morris developed a following in the region and created the Bass Pro catalog in 1974. Morris also introduced the Bass Tracker fishing boat in 1978 that was designed specifically for fishermen.