By Samantha Smith
One of Buda’s most recognizable businesses in Cabela’s shocked many earlier this week after the company announced it was being purchased by Bass Pro Shops in a multi-billion dollar merger.
According to a press release on the Cabela’s website, Bass Pro Shops acquired the hunting and fishing superstore at a cash price of $65.50 per share, or an approximate transaction value of $5.5 billion.
News of the merger was available online Monday with a message of reassurance to customers from Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tommy Millner available on the company’s website.
“We’re really excited about joining forces with Bass Pro Shops to create the truly premier retailer in outdoor sporting goods. We will be able to provide you with access to more locations and the greatest selection of outdoor recreation equipment and apparel in North America,” Millner said in his letter.
The process toward the decision went through a “strategic review,” where the “company assesses a wide variety of options to maximize value,” Millner said.
He said the board of directors “unanimously concluded that this combination with Bass Pro Shops is the best path forward for Cabela’s, its shareholders, outfitters and customers.”
The acquisition of Cabela’s should be complete in the first half of 2017, according to Millner’s letter. The letter, however, does not reference any information on possible name or signage changes.
At this time, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have not released information on potential name or signage changes. The Hays Free Press reached out to Cabela’s for comment but did not receive a response back before press time.
“Until closing (of the transaction of sale), Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops will continue to operate as separate, independent companies, as they always have,” said Millner in his online letter to Cabela’s customers.
Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said the decision for Cabela’s to sell came after almost a year of the company secretly looking for a buyer.
Ruge, who is on the Board of the Dupree Local Government Association that oversees the Cabela’s owned property, caught wind of the company’s decision to sell about nine months ago.
A possible reason for the merger, Ruge said, could be that “Bass Pro Shops are doing better financially than Cabela’s.”
Ruge said in order for Cabela’s to come to Buda almost 13 years ago, they self-funded around $30 million for a bond that was designed to be paid out for 25 years to the city.
Sales tax revenue from the Buda location helps Cabela’s pay off the bond amount, Ruge said.
But when Bass Pro Shops purchased Cabela’s, they also purchased the last 12 years of debt on the store’s bond to the city, Ruge said.
However, Ruge was unsure of possible implications if Bass Pro Shops decides to change the company name.
Ruge said the city carries financial responsibility for changes to the water tower and the signage for Cabela’s Drive.
“It’s too early to know if signage and things are going to change,” Ruge said.
As for the future of the Buda Cabela’s store, Ruge believes it will be a long time before there is discussion about closing it.
“I’m pretty confident that the Buda Cabela’s location will remain open for at least the remaining 12 years of the bond re-payment,” Ruge said.