Feb. 20--Shares of Norfolk-based Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. soared this morning in Nasdaq trading, a day after the company announced a $1.3 billion deal to buy a Norwegian debt-collection firm.
PRA's shares were trading up about 16 percent at 11:30 this morning. About 2.5 million shares in the company changed hands in the first two hours of trading today -- about five times the normal volume for an entire day.
In the biggest deal in its history, PRA said Wednesday that it will buy Aktiv Kapital AS, based in Oslo. The company operates in 14 European countries and Canada.
Steve Fredrickson, the local company's chairman and CEO, called it "a transformative deal for PRA." The merger would vault PRA into the ranks of the world's largest debt specialists. The combined companies would have $4.6 billion in estimated remaining collections on their books, increasing PRA's existing potential collections by more than 70 percent.
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