SAN DIEGO, Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Encore Capital Group, Inc. (Encore) an international specialty finance company (NASDAQ: ECPG), today announced that its subsidiary, U.K.-based Cabot Credit Management (Cabot), has acquired Marlin Financial Group (Marlin), a leader in the U.K. debt purchasing market, for a cash purchase price of £295 million (approximately $481 million). The transaction was fully financed by debt incurred by Cabot. Encore acquired a controlling stake in Cabot in July 2013.
Cabot's acquisition of Marlin expands Encore's strong presence in the high-growth U.K. and Irish markets, which together comprise the largest mature credit market in the world after the U.S. Together the two companies will create the largest unsecured debt buyer in the U.K., and the companies expect to generate substantial synergies that will drive profit growth in the near term, with future upside potential. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Encore's 2014 earnings per share.
According to Ken Vecchione, Chief Executive Officer of Encore, the acquisition sends a clear signal that Encore will continue its purposeful expansion in order to capitalize on growth and consolidation opportunities both domestically and internationally. "As we have said before, our goal is to consistently deliver 15 percent growth in earnings per share. We plan to achieve this by focusing on three key areas: growing our existing businesses, including Propel and Cabot, expanding into new geographies, and diversifying into new asset classes. Cabot's acquisition of Marlin aligns perfectly with this strategy."
Marlin brings to Cabot over £350 million in Estimated Remaining Collections (ERC), as well as a robust, mature legal collections operation. With this litigation capability, Marlin is highly effective at collecting on non-performing debt, in which consumers have the ability to pay but are unwilling to do so. This is an ideal complement to Cabot's success with collecting on semi-performing debt, where consumers have a high willingness to pay. By leveraging each other's core strengths, Cabot and Marlin will expand their ability to collect on their respective portfolios, potentially creating a substantial uplift in ERC for current portfolios and generating additional liquidation on future purchases.
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