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Sylvan Acquires Walden University

Sylvan Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. has exercised its option to acquire an additional 10 percent interest in Walden University, an accredited, online university offering Ph.D. and other graduate-level degree programs in education, management, and the social and behavioral sciences.

The $8 million investment gives Sylvan Ventures a controlling, 51 percent stake in Walden approximately one year after it acquired 41 percent ownership of the school.

According to Paula Singer, president and chief executive officer of Sylvan's online higher education division, the controlling interest in Walden University will lead to the sharing of more resources, marketing and product development by the Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning Systems companies and divisions.

"Walden University and Sylvan Learning Systems have a relatively short, but very important history of success to build on," she said. "The year-long relationship between Walden and Sylvan's Canter and Associates teacher education subsidiary, for example, has resulted in approximately 1,000 new education master's degree students for Walden. Sylvan Ventures' new investment will allow us to accelerate and expand such opportunities. Moving forward, we will work with Walden to develop specific vertical discipline expertise similar to what Canter has brought Walden in education. These will likely include such disciplines as business management, health and human services, psychology, engineering and information technology."

Founded in 1970, Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and has graduated thousands of students from all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

"The past year has proven the wisdom of our original investment in Walden University, and made our decision to acquire a controlling interest a logical next step," said R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric, chairman and chief executive officer of Sylvan Ventures. "Walden's partnership with Sylvan Learning Systems' Online Higher Education division has produced strong enrollment growth, new programs and curricula, and enhanced visibility."

The Sylvan Learning Centers and Sylvan Education Solutions businesses provide instruction services to K-12 students through direct consumer relationships and under contract to school systems. Sylvan provides courses to adult students throughout the world in the areas of teacher training, accredited university offerings, and English language, through the Online Higher Education, Sylvan International Universities and Wall Street Institute businesses.

Sylvan Ventures, Sylvan's research and investment vehicle, focuses on bringing emerging technology solutions to the education and training marketplace.