NERA's Role in Bass Pro Shops' Acquisition of Cabela's

The Situation

In 2015, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB) launched a nearly two-year investigation of the proposed Bass Pro Shop acquisition of Cabela’s Incorporated. Both companies were leading outdoor hunting, fishing, camping, and boating sporting goods retailers at the time.

NERA's Role

NERA Academic Affiliate Dr. Elizabeth M. Bailey supported Bass Pro Shops' outside antitrust legal counsel, O’Melveny and Myers, during the extensive review by the FTC of the proposed acquisition of Cabela’s. NERA's team helped counsel conduct empirical analyses to inform the assessment of antitrust risks and to engage with FTC economists on the competitive effects of the transaction including addressing competitive concerns raised by the agency. NERA's team also supported Bass Pro Shops and its counsel in responding to the FTC's Request for Additional Information, commonly referred to as a "Second Request."

NERA also supported Bass Pro Shops’ Canadian counsel, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, by contributing to affirmative engagement with the CCB and with assistance in complying with a Supplementary Information Request (or “SIR”).

The Result

In July 2017, the FTC closed its investigation without taking any action. The CCB also closed its investigation without taking any action.

Partner Ted Hassi of O’Melveny and Myers said “The assistance provided by Liz Bailey and the economists at NERA throughout the FTC's investigation was extremely useful. NERA’s work, as well as their ability to address complex analytical topics in non‐technical language, was essential to addressing the questions raised by the FTC and to securing their approval of the transaction. Liz and her team were knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.”

Partner Jason Gudofsky, of Blakes, said “Liz and the entire NERA team were terrific. NERA’s ability to work under tight timelines and synthesize a significant volume of information was instrumental to the successful outcome of the Competition Bureau’s review. We found the NERA team to be highly practical, creative and a real pleasure to work with. Ultimately, NERA played a key role in our ability to secure a no action letter from the CBB.” NERA presented its research to the FTC and CCB throughout 2016 and 2017.