With 10 closed first quarter deals in the Accounts Receivables Management and Revenue Cycle Management industries, the global M&A market is off to a strong start in 2014, according to a report released Monday by advisory firm Greenberg Advisors.

Among the Q1 activity, Encore Capital's Cabot Credit Management made headlines again after buying Marlin Financial Group from Duke Street Capital for $484 million. Debt buyer Encore Capital acquired Cabot Credit in 2013 for $177 million.

The Marlin acquisition represented approximately 84% of the total $574 million of deal value for the first quarter ended March 31. Excluding that acquisition, first quarter deals averaged $11.4 million in value, a sign of the ongoing consolidation among small- and mid-size players, according to the report.

Overall, Q1 deal activity was on par with quarterly activity in 2013.

"Sixty percent of deals closed in the first quarter involved public and/or private equity-backed companies completing bolt-on strategic acquisitions to grow their current platforms. The remaining 40% were done by pure-play strategic firms," according to the report.

"In either case, many of today's buyers seek growth through acquisition because organic growth has become increasingly difficult due to availability of product, consolidation among clients and/or clients consolidating their vendor base," according to the report. "While we expect these trends to continue, we also expect to see some platform acquisitions by private equity firms and strategics in related markets seeking to capitalize on the dynamics of ARM, RCO and BPO [Business Process Outsourcing] that offer many opportunities."

For details on values and specific industry activity, click here for the full report from Greenberg Advisors.

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