Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc., whose main business is buying and collecting overdue consumer debts, is trying its hand at chasing down another kind of obligation: money owed under class-action settlements.

The Norfolk, Va., company said Monday it had purchased 62% of Claims Compensation Bureau, which, according to Portfolio Recovery's chairman, president and chief executive, Steven D. Fredrickson, "pioneered the field of class-action settlement recoveries and payment processing."

Claims Compensation, in Conshohocken, Pa., was founded in 1996. Today, Fredrickson said in a press release, the outfit "counts many household names on its client roster."

Portfolio Recovery did not say how much it paid for the stake. It has the right to buy the remaining 38% of Claims Compensation, which helps corporate clients "maximize settlement recoveries, in many cases participating in settlements they would otherwise not know existed," Portfolio Recovery said.

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