Encore Capital Group (NASDAQ: ECPG) recently announced that it will acquire Asset Acceptance Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: AACC), a move that amplifies the mergers-and-acquisition landscape of the debt collection industry. Both Encore Capital Group (which does business as Midland Credit Management) and Asset Acceptance are major players in the debt buying business, and the merger of the two will create a behemoth that, according to an Encore press release, represents the purchase of “over 60 million individual consumer accounts…with a face value of over $130 billion.”
While Asset Acceptance will continue as a subsidiary of Encore Capital Corp., Encore CEO Brandon Black said, “This acquisition moves our industry into a new phase of maturity defined by more efficient companies that are committed to operating ethically and treating consumers with respect.” According to Justia.com, during 2013 Encore has been named as a defendant in a dozen lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, while Asset Acceptance has been named as a defendant in three dozen lawsuits. The Better Business Bureau gives Encore and Asset Acceptance each a B+ rating, and has logged 1190 closed Encore complaints and 903 closed Asset Acceptance complaints within the past three years.
The proposed merger, which has to undergo review by securities regulators, is expected to occur during the second quarter.