International

ACT Buys Venture To Teach English

By Rhea R. Borja — March 22, 2005 1 min read

The nonprofit group that produces the ACT college- admissions test has formed a for-profit subsidiary to help foreign college students enter universities in the United States and other English-speaking countries.

ACT Inc., based in Iowa City, Iowa, acquired the Sydney, Australia-based Campus Group International Education Services in late January for an undisclosed amount. The new company, ACT Education Solutions Inc., is incorporated in Hong Kong.

The acquisition comes almost two years after ACT Inc. formed a “strategic alliance” with the Australian company, in which foreign students used ACT products such as the ACT Assessment, a college-entrance exam,in conjunction with Campus Group’s main product.

That product is a nine-month “pre-university foundation studies” program called the Global Assessment Certificate. It teaches English proficiency and its application in mathematics, information technology, and science.

The program is offered in 11 countries at more than 70 sites, including more than 30 in China.

The acquisition of Campus Group International is the American test-maker’s first foray into the international market. The second is close behind: It will announce its acquisition of another foreign company, this time in the workforce-development field, in a month, said Richard Ferguson, the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of ACT Inc. He declined to provide more details.

“We are becoming more strategically engaged in the global education and corporate arena,” Mr. Ferguson said in an interview. “The acquisition of [Campus Group] is the foundation on which ACT will build and expand its presence.”

While the move was ACT’s first international purchase, the testing organization has acquired the assets of several American companies in recent years.

In 2002, ACT acquired RMI Media Productions, an Olathe, Kan.-based company that provides distance-learning courses to more than 250 colleges and other postsecondary institutions.

And in 1992, ACT purchased American Testronics, a developer of standardized tests that is based in Iowa City.

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