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Maryland education bodies move toward merger

An official with the University System of Maryland recently spoke at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, explaining that a planned merger with the Southern Maryland Education Center will allow the University System to greatly expand its presence in the southern part of the state and help facilitate substantial educational and financial benefits in the region. The likely sales terms of such a deal are currently unclear.

Leaders with USM and the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center met at the laboratory to sign an agreement regarding planned construction at the latter organization's out-of-state campus, a move experts say edges the two parties closer to a projected merger. The Southern Maryland Higher Education Center agreed to consider acquisition offers from USM in September of 2013, a deal that would likely see USM taking control of all of the Education Center's California operations.

The president of the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, who serves on the Education Center's managing board, said that the proposed deal has faced resistance in Southern Maryland but will prove ultimately prove advantageous for the region. He added that the proposed merger will necessitate a large number of potentially difficult changes to the way the Southern Maryland Education Center operates.

The recent meeting in Solomons saw the Education Center granting $1.5 million to USM to partially fund the construction of a new building on that campus. A USM official predicted that the project could be completed by the summer of 2017, assuming that it does not face any major delays.

One state lawmaker explained that while USM would have the power to shut down educational programs at private institutions in order to offer them exclusively, he sees no reason why a merger between the Education Center and USM would prompt public university officials to make such a decision.

Mergers in Maryland can be extremely complex, especially when they involve state-operated or public entities. The legal complexities inherent in such agreements make it crucial for any businesses, organizations or any other parties to consult with qualified attorneys before finalizing a merger or acquisition.

SoMdNews, "University System of Maryland signs on for new role in region" Jesse Yeatman, Nov. 06, 2013

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