A somewhat predictable merger is complete.  Outdoor specialty store chain Bass Pro Shops is buying competitor Cabela’s Incorporated for $5.5 billion, which includes debt, according to a joint announcement from the companies on Monday.  The privately-held, Springfield, Missouri-based Bass Pro also announced it is hiring Capital One to take over the Cabela’s branded credit card.  All Cabela’s CLUB points will remain for customers to ensure a “seamless transition,” the companies stated in a news release.

The Sidney, Nebraska-based Cabela’s operates a Billings store at 4550 King Avenue East.  There was no mention of consolidation or planned store closures, and Bass Pro currently has no stores in Montana.  However, a Bass Pro spokeswoman said in a statement that the company intends to “celebrate and grow” the Cabela’s brand, noting that decisions about individual stores would come later.  Cabela’s has three Montana stores.  The acquisition deal is subject to regulatory approval.