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The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. Acquires Education Direct, Inc.

The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. Acquires Education Direct, Inc.

NEW YORK, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. (the "Wicks Group"), a New York-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate, Penn Foster Holdings, LLC ("Penn Foster" or the "Company"), has completed the acquisition of Education Direct, Inc., a leading correspondence education provider from The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC). The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1890 by Civil War veteran Thomas Foster to educate coal miners in safety and engineering, Penn Foster today provides a wide array of academic programs which have educated more than 13 million students around the world since its inception. Today, the Company offers students affordable quality distance education programs through Penn Foster College, Career School, and High School, as well as business-to-business courses through its Business and Industrial Group and programs for Canadian students through ICS Canada.

Stuart Udell will join the company as Chief Executive Officer and Al De Seta will join as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Udell has 15 years experience in educational services, most recently as President of Kaplan K12 Learning Services and earlier as President of the School Renaissance Institute. Mr. De Seta also brings 15 years of relevant experience, having served in group and divisional President roles at ProQuest, WRC Media, and PRIMEDIA.

"This company essentially created the distance education market 117 years ago. Thomas Edison, himself an author of one of our courses, cited that home study was one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century," said Udell. "Now in the twenty-first century, Penn Foster remains an innovator with more than 100 affordable, self-paced, career-focused online and blended learning programs. We are reaching many thousands of students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to get ahead."

De Seta added, "We look forward to leveraging the expertise of Penn Foster's talented staff to further strengthen our position in the distance education market. We are committed to the mission of providing affordable high quality programs for our students. We are very energized by the opportunity to make a difference."

Daniel Black, Partner of the Wicks Group, said, "We are very excited about this acquisition and the programs and people that are in place to fuel future growth. We believe that very favorable opportunities are present in the multiple markets that Penn Foster serves, and we could not be more pleased with the foundation upon which we plan to build."

The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. (http://www.wicksgroup.com/) manages private equity funds that invest in selected segments of the communications, information and media industries. Such funds currently own or have owned companies in educational publishing, consumer publishing, medical information services, community newspapers, radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, magazine publishing, outdoor advertising, newsletter publishing, and cable television distribution.

BMO Capital Markets Corp. advised The Thomson Corporation in connection with the sale.

The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C.

CONTACT: Daniel L. Black, Partner of The Wicks Group of Companies,
L.L.C., +1-212-838-2100, [email protected]

Web site: http://www.wicksgroup.com/

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