Cabela’s acknowledged on Thursday for the first time that the company — or parts of it — are for sale.
The Sidney, Nebraska-based retailer said as much in a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The document, however, provided no update on the so-called strategic review process the company announced Dec. 2, other than to say “the process has continued and is ongoing.”
A spokesman declined to comment to The World-Herald.
The company has been under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management since October, when the New York hedge fund declared an 11 percent stake in Cabela’s and said it would press for changes.
Some of those changes include: selling World’s Foremost Bank, which operates the profitable Cabela’s Visa credit card; selling the company’s real estate; or selling Cabela’s itself.
The document — an 8K in regulatory parlance — is a legal disclosure aimed at investors who bought notes backed by the credit-card portfolio of the company’s World’s Foremost Bank. It is telling those investors — who fronted money to Cabela’s based on the ongoing cash generated by World’s Foremost’s $5 billion in credit-card receivables — that the bank might be sold.
“The results of this strategic alternatives review process could include, but are not limited to, a sale of Cabela’s or one of its businesses, including a sale of the bank or its assets, or a transaction combining a sale of the bank or all or a portion of its assets to one or more purchasers and a sale of the parent company (including all of its merchandising business) to one or more other purchasers,” the document reads.
The filing also detailed possible scenarios if World’s Foremost Bank is sold. World’s Foremost is based in Lincoln. The bank employs about 700. The company headquarters in Sidney employs 2,000 in the town of 6,800 residents.
Cabela’s is the only U.S. retailer that owns a bank for the express purpose of issuing credit cards. Seattle-based Nordstrom was the only other retailer that operated a bank similarly, until Oct. 1 of last year, when it sold its $2.2 billion credit-card portfolio to TD Bank.
In April, Reuters news service reported that Citigroup, Bank of America, Capital One Financial, TD Bank and Synchrony Financial all were vying for the credit-card portfolio of Cabela’s. None of the financial companies commented to Reuters.
The bank has nearly 2 million accounts with about $5 billion in loans and $502 million in revenue in 2015, according to the company’s latest annual report.
With or without the credit- card business attached, the company’s retail business could be sold to Bass Pro Shops, Reuters and Bloomberg news services have reported, citing unidentified sources. Neither Cabela’s nor Elliott has commented on the chatter, though Thursday’s filing says in plain English that the business — all or part of it — could be on the block.
Still, Cabela’s noted in the filing, there’s no guarantee the strategic review will result in a sale of any kind.
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