Don’t count me as one of the many who were excited by the news Monday that Bass Pro Shops has reached an agreement to purchase Cabela’s.
I don’t like monopolies. And that is where Bass Pro Shops is headed.
You might recall the events of 2014, when Bass Pro purchased the Ranger, Stratos and Triton boat companies to complement its existing Nitro and Tracker lines. That put the leading bass boat companies under one ownership and essentially controlled the market.
Now this. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s for years had been in competition for the sportsmen’s dollars, fishing and hunting giants that were in the public eye. There’s one way to get rid of your competition: You buy them out. And that’s what Bass Pro did.
I guess I’m just suspicious by nature. Right now, there’s nothing to lead anyone to believe that this will be a bad thing for the average guy or gal out there.
Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro, is saying all the right things.
In a statement Monday, Morris said, “We look forward to continuing to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand alongside Bass Pro Shops and White River (Marine Group) as one unified outdoor family.”
But many questions remain. What will happen to the Cabela’s brand? How will Cabela’s stores such as the one in Kansas City, Kan., be affected? In markets such as Kansas City, where there are already two Bass Pro locations, will Cabela’s stores eventually be closed? Will there be less variety in the products being sold? And most important, as is the case of many monopolies, will the prices of what we buy go up?
For now, Morris is telling fishermen and hunters not to worry; that the companies will “blend seamlessly.”
But we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe I’m way off, but I see red flags.
Like I said, I don’t like monopolies.