U.S. Higher-Education Company Buys a Chain of Canadian Colleges

By GOLDIE BLUMENSTYK
The Chronicle of Higher Education
6/26/2003

For the second time in two weeks, Corinthian Colleges Inc. has announced a major acquisition: It plans to buy a company in Canada that operates 45 colleges with a total enrollment of about 6,100 students.

Corinthian said it would pay the equivalent of about $37-million to acquire the stock of the company, CDI Education Corporation. The move marks Corinthian's first foray outside the United States. Several other publicly traded higher-education companies already own and operate colleges in Canada.

CDI, which is based in Toronto, has two divisions. Its postsecondary division offers nondegree programs in allied health, business, and information technology. The company, which now trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange, also operates 15 corporate-education centers that are part of its corporate-training division.

Corinthian officials said they planned to continue that structure after the acquisition, expected in September.

Executives of Corinthian, based in Santa Ana, Calif., said they were drawn to CDI because of its presence in "the attractive Canadian market." A spokeswoman said the company anticipates opportunities to deploy its "very powerful marketing machine" to the Canadian institutions.

The CDI deal, announced Tuesday, comes just two weeks after Corinthian announced plans to acquire the 10-campus Career Choices Inc. for $56-million and to buy substantially all of East Coast Aero Tech for $2.9-million (The Chronicle, June 12). Career Choices operates in California, Oregon, and Washington. East Coast is located in Massachusetts. The combined enrollment at those institutions was about 3,000 as of December 31, 2002, according to Corinthian.

The company said it would use cash and proceeds from an existing line of credit to make the purchases.