Debt buyer Encore Capital Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ECPG) late Thursday announced that it has acquired Atlantic Credit & Finance (ACF), a leader in collecting fresh, higher-balance accounts, for approximately $70 million in cash. Encore also said it made additional payments totaling approximately $126 million to retire certain indebtedness and obligations of ACF.

Founded in 1996, ACF specializes in collecting fresh, higher-balance credit card and consumer loans. These strengths complement Encore’s industry-leading success in collecting on later-stage debt, the company said in a press release.

“The acquisition of ACF provides Encore with a number of competitive advantages,” said Kenneth A. Vecchione, chief executive officer of Encore. “It allows us to expand our expertise and deploy additional capital into a new market segment of fresh, higher-balance accounts, which is an ideal complement to our existing capabilities. ACF’s strength in early-stage liquidation, coupled with our strength in late-state liquidation, creates a sustainable, winning strategy for both organizations.”

ACF brings to Encore a portfolio with approximately $275 million in Estimated Remaining Collections (ERC) as well as a platform that specializes in acquiring and collecting on high balance, fresh paper. The company has a team of experienced, highly productive collectors who will be a strong complement to Encore’s current collections operations. The transaction will serve to satisfy a large portion of Encore’s capital deployment for 2014.

“We’re excited to be a part of the Encore family of companies,” said Richard Woolwine, chief executive officer of ACF. “Encore’s leadership position in the industry, combined with its reputation as a consumer-focused company, gives us great confidence that ACF will reach new levels of success.”

“This acquisition is another clear signal that Encore will continue to drive consolidation and shape the future of our industry,” said Vecchione. “Transactions like this one allow us to deliver on our commitment to earnings growth and help us expand our deep and talented team.”

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