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J.C. Flowers Takes Encore

Private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co. is making an encore move in the consumer credit business.

Fresh off last week's $25 billion deal for Sallie Mae (SLM), Flowers has agreed to acquire a 25% controlling stake in Encore Capital Group (ECPG).

Affiliates of J.C. Flowers and FPK Capital plan on paying an investor group that includes Nelson Peltz's Triarc (TRY) $55 million for a stake in the San Diego-based debt collection firm, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Encore said in a press release Monday that Red Mountain Capital Partners also has taken a 15% stake.

Encore said representatives of J.C. Flowers, FPK and Red Mountain are expected to be invited to join its board next month.

Encore Group purchases consumer receivable portfolios at a discount that have otherwise been written off as a lost cause. It then tries to collect on the debts, typically tied to credit cards and auto loans.

A debt collection agency makes a logical fit for Flowers, helping it to service troubled slacker loans in its Sallie Mae portfolio. The move may also suggest that the company is eyeing additional buys in the world of financial institutions.

Backers of the Sallie Mae deal include private equity partner Friedman Fleischer & Lowe and big banks Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan (JPM).

A spokeswoman for Triarc in Manhattan was unavailable to comment, and a call to Flowers' affiliate JCF FPK in London was directed to a spokesman in New York, who did not immediately return a call.

Encore rose 73 cents to $11.49.

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