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Outdoor retailer Cabela's may be hunting for a buyer

December 2, 2015

Cabela's, the outdoor sporting goods chain known for its elaborate store layouts, may be seeking a buyer.

The company—which opened its first Indianapolis-area store in August in Noblesville—said early Wednesday that it's exploring strategic alternatives, sending shares up more than 4 percent before the opening bell.

The retailer has been under pressure since late October when the investment firm Elliott Management bought a 6 percent stake and pushed for strategic changes from the company, like the potential sale of its credit card unit.

In September, Cabela's laid off 70 people, eliminating about 4 percent of its corporate workforce.

The company said revenue increased 4.6 percent overall in the third quarter, to $927 million, but sales at stores open less than a year were off 4.2 percent.

CEO Tommy Millner said in a written statement that Cabela's continues to honor its commitments and that the Sidney, Nebraska, company remains focused on its business.

The entire retail sporting goods sector has been under pressure for some time.

Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., Hibbett Sports Inc. and Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. are all down between 20 percent and 35 percent over the past year. In that regard, Cabela's has fared better.

Shares of Cabela's Inc., of which the founding family still holds a significant stake, are down 11 percent this year. But they've risen more than 18 percent in the last month on speculation of a buyout.

The company, which has about 65 stores, was founded in 1961.

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