Cabela’s Shareholders Brace for Bass Pro News

The writing’s been on the wall for months, and it certainly looks like retail tackle giant Cabela’s is on the market and in the crosshairs of Bass Pro Shops. The plans for what’s going to happen and when may be public soon.

The date for Cabela’s annual shareholders’ meeting is expected to be announced late this month. Their shareholder’s meeting usually takes place in the first week of June, though it could happen as late as July. There, it’s a good bet that some of the questions and rumors that have been swirling around the company will be addressed.

Wall Street pundits have plenty of opinions regarding what’s going to happen with Cabela’s, but most agree that an acquisition is on the company’s horizon and that Bass Pro Shops is the likely buyer. is naturally interested in the Cabela’s situation since the retailer calls Sidney, Nebraska, home and employs thousands of Nebraska residents. They posted this story today. It’s a good rundown of the shareholder’s meeting timetable and the posturing that will go on there.

What will the transaction mean to retailers? Maybe nothing. If you’ve got a Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops in your backyard already, they’re not moving any closer. And if you don’t, the likelihood of one coming to your neighborhood won’t likely increase after the deal. They’re there or they’re not, and they’re coming or they’re not.

What will it mean to consumers? Again, perhaps not much. But with one giant retailer where there used to be two, Bass Pro Shops could raise retail prices with relative impunity. Of course, if that happens, smaller retailers and online stores will reap the rewards.

What will it mean to manufacturers? Ahh, there’s the rub. Big box stores from Walmart to Target to major supermarkets can make things tough on manufacturers. They can demand the lowest possible prices on the worst possible terms for the manufacturer, and there’s little the manufacturer can do about it. If you’re a manufacturer, two major outlets are better than one. And whether they say so or not, manufacturers do not welcome the acquisition of Cabela’s by Bass Pro Shops. It would give Bass Pro Shops both the carrot and the stick.