The combination of America’s two largest debt collection agencies has been completed, according to a press release issued late Friday by NCO Group.

Horsham, Pa.-based NCO said it has completed the deal to acquire St. Louis-based Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. (OSI). NCO confirmed that the deal will cost the firm $325 million in cash as it announced in December (“NCO Group to Buy OSI for $325 Million,” Dec. 12, 2007). The combined company will have over 29,000 employees operating in 10 countries.

“We are excited at the opportunities created by this acquisition, which will better enable us to service our markets,” NCO Chairman and CEO Michael Barrist said in the release Friday.

The completion of the deal signals that government regulatory approval came easily for the merger. “Our Hart-Scott-Rodino filing was approved,” Brian Callahan, NCO’s vice president of financial reporting, told insideARM, “and that, obviously, was the major hurdle.”

The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act requires the parties of a proposed merger to file for antitrust approval by the FTC before the deal can be completed. There was speculation that the NCO-OSI deal would be tricky to approve given the companies’ positions of dominance in the U.S. ARM market.

“There’s just not as much overlap as is probably perceived,” Callahan told insideARM in December.

A large portion, 70 percent according to NCO’s prospectus on the deal, of OSI’s revenue comes from first party collection work, while NCO concentrates more on third party, or contingency, collection assignments.

Callahan declined to comment on integration strategy or top management role changes that were alluded to in December ("NCO-OSI Deal Signed, Now it has to Get Done," Dec. 13, 2007).

NCO said in its Friday release that it borrowed an additional $139 million on its senior credit facility to partially fund the transaction. Private equity investor One Equity Partners, NCO management and other co-investors provided NCO with the remainder of the funding for the acquisition. One Equity is a private investment unit of JPMorgan Chase.