Two of the country’s largest outdoors-focused retailers are merging. Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops, which has locations in Clarksville and Portage, has announced the $5.5 billion acquisition of Cabela’s Inc. (NYSE: CAB), which runs stores in Hammond and Noblesville.

Bass Pro Shops, a privately-owned business, says the agreement has received unanimous approval from the Cabela’s board of directors. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Cabela’s opened its Noblesville location last year in the Hamilton Town Center. Plans for a different central Indiana store, which would’ve been in Greenwood, fell through in 2009. When the company opened the Noblesville store, it said it could employ some 170 full-timers.

Though details of how the combined operations’ footprint would be structured were not announced, Bass Pro Shops says it plans to maintain "important bases of operations in Sidney and Lincoln (Nebraska) and hopes to continue the very favorable connections to those communities and the Cabela’s team members residing there." Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris will be CEO and majority shareholder of the resulting, private company.

Final details of the merger will need approval of Cabela’s shareholders and regulators.

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