Sylvan, Chauncey form company Based in Utah, it will offer licensing in regulated job fields

August 20, 1998|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. said yesterday that it will join Chauncey Group International to form a company that will provide regulatory licensing and testing services for occupations such as cosmetology and real estate.

Princeton, N.J.-based Chauncey is a provider of certification and licensing examinations and is the for-profit segment of Educational Testing Service, a client of Sylvan, a Baltimore-based educational services company.

The new company will result from the combination of Insurance Testing Corp., a Chauncey subsidiary, and NAI/Block, a Sylvan subsidiary that provides licensing and certification services, primarily in the construction and real estate fields.

As part of the deal, Sylvan will buy 100 testing centers, known as the Cogent network, from Insurance Testing Corp. for an undisclosed price.

The centers will be used by the new company and other Sylvan ventures, said Vickie Glazar, a Sylvan spokeswoman.

Chauncey and Sylvan officials would not disclose the cost of the new venture, which will be based in Salt Lake City, Glazar said.

The new company will broaden to include licensing programs in fields that are regulated by state and municipal governments, such as cosmetology and food-handling.

"We're going to be able to offer our customers a high quality of services in every major area of certification and licensing," Judith Moore, president of Chauncey Group, said in a statement.

Chris Hoehn-Saric, Sylvan's co-chief executive, said he estimates the state and municipal testing market to be about $25 billion.

It's the intention of the new company to "acquire a dominant share" of that market, he said.

The joint venture "puts us in a strong position," he said.

"We have all the necessary content and a network of testing sites that's unmatched. We can serve any state without the additional investment in infrastructure."

Creating the company "sounds like it makes sense," said Scott L. Soffen, an analyst with Legg Mason Inc. in Baltimore.

"It's in line with Sylvan's strategic plan of becoming a full-service education company, and it allows it to be bigger and better than anyone else in the state licensing market," he said.

In a knowledge-based economy in which referrals are no longer enough, Soffen said, employers want to see concrete evidence of competency.

Sylvan's shares closed yesterday at $25, down $2.75.

Pub Date: 8/20/98

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