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Johnny Morris agrees to commit up to $10 million for a severance fund benefiting Cabela’s employees who may lose their jobs.
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Johnny Morris agrees to commit up to $10 million for a severance fund benefiting Cabela’s employees who may lose their jobs.

Morris challenges Cabela’s execs with $10M severance pledge

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Johnny Morris is challenging former Cabela’s Inc. executives who profited from Bass Pro Shops’ purchase of the company to contribute to a severance fund for employees who may lose their jobs following the merger of the two outdoor retail giants.

Morris, who now owns Cabela’s after the purchase, committed to matching up to $10 million. Combined with potential funds from former Cabela’s executives and $10 million in severance already committed, the fund possibly could total $30 million, according to a statement provided by Bass Pro spokesman Jack Wlezien.

“While I know the former owners and executives are under no obligation to lend this additional support, I hope they consider doing so,” Morris said in the statement.

Cabela’s executives earned $859 million in the sale to Bass Pro, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting. Chairman James Cabela, whose 11.2 million shares converted to $689.1 million, was the top earner.

It’s unclear how many jobs will be lost in Nebraska and Cabela’s hometown of Sidney, but Bass Pro has committed to keeping on the “vast majority” of the company’s 19,000 employees countrywide. Cabela’s has about 1,300 employees in Sidney.

“Our intent, as reflected by our actions to date, has been to avoid making false promises and we will continue to be very thoughtful and candid before making commitments,” the Bass Pro statement reads.

Wlezien said via email Bass Pro currently is determining which office operations would remain in Sidney and would relocate to Springfield. Officials, so far, have decided to retain 530 jobs, the largest amount of which, 190, are at the distribution center in Sidney. Another 125 jobs are Sidney-based information technology operations, he said, and the Cabela’s store in the city will keep on its 120 employees.

“Our leadership team continues to work hard to evaluate what other opportunities will be available in Sidney and what opportunities will be available in Springfield and what opportunities will be eliminated,” Wlezien said.

Bass Pro finalized the $5 billion purchase of Cabela’s in September.

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