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Encore Acquires Texas Firm

Encore Capital Group Inc., a San Diego-based public firm that collects on purchased portfolios of charged-off credit card debt, acquired Ascension Group for a combined cash and stock price of about $22 million, including the assumption of $450,000 in debt.

Encore made the announcement Aug. 30.

Ascension, based in Arlington, Texas, is a manager and negotiator of bankruptcy creditor accounts for lenders. Last year, Ascension generated $12.3 million in revenues along with an additional $2.2 million in cash flow from operations.

This year, the firm is on track to generate revenues of about $14.2 million and additional cash flow from operations of $3.8 million.

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Encore Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carl Gregory said the acquisition follows the company’s strategy to diversify into complementary businesses in the consumer debt collection industry.

Encore said it would maintain the 200-person staff and offices of Ascension Capital. Encore has about 700 employees; about half work at its headquarters in Kearny Mesa.

Stock of Encore, traded on Nasdaq under ECPG, rose 41 cents on Aug. 30 to $17.58. Its 52-week range is between $12.65 and $26.73.

Mike Allen

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