SAN DIEGO, Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Encore Capital Group, Inc. (Encore), an international specialty finance company (NASDAQ: ECPG), today announced that it has entered into an agreement to take a controlling stake in Grove Capital Management (Grove), an investment group that purchases credit portfolios and has a focus on UK insolvencies and Spanish assets. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2014.
The Grove transaction will broaden Encore's presence in the UK and enable it to bring a full range of offerings to issuers in the UK market. Grove's largest business is the purchase and management of insolvencies, consisting primarily of individual voluntary arrangements (IVA), and bankruptcy receivables. An IVA is a formal, voluntary repayment plan negotiated with creditors and entered into by individuals or businesses that wish to avoid a bankruptcy. "The proposed transaction with Grove is yet another example of Encore's purposeful expansion into new geographies and asset classes," said Ken Vecchione, Chief Executive Officer of Encore. "Through this transaction, Encore will broaden the suite of services it offers in the UK, while also gaining access to another channel through which to deploy capital." Grove differentiates itself and drives strong collections performance through its sophisticated analytics, deep knowledge of the consumer, and strong relationship with TDX Group, the largest servicing platform for IVAs in the UK. As a result, Grove has quickly grown to be among the leading investors in UK insolvency assets. Kevin Fuller, Chief Executive Officer of Grove, said, "The agreement with Encore shows the value of Grove's market position and represents the start of an exciting new stage in our growth. With access to Encore's strong capital position, we can be a stronger partner for our UK clients and accelerate our growth in Spain and other European markets, while maintaining the agility and responsiveness that have been key to our success." Vecchione said, "We believe this transaction, along with our other recent acquisitions, provides us with increased optionality by enabling us to allocate capital in multiple asset classes in multiple geographies, to bring our shareholders the best returns."