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In a sign of the continuing consolidation of French business schools, BEM Management School Bordeaux and Euromed Management in Marseille on Wednesday announced plans to merge.

The schools said the fusion, which is due to become effective in early 2013, will create an establishment capable of welcoming 10,000 students on four continents. The schools, both of which are based in the south of France, say their joint budget of €83m and faculty of 159 members are all indicators of the merger’s potential.

Its aims, they said in a joint press release, is to rank in the top 15 European business schools. Currently, Euromed is 35th in the FT’s European Business Schools ranking and BEM is 55th – so they have some way to go.

“For both institutions, we’re determined to be a player in Europe by 2016-2017 – one of the questions is how we can increase and get visibility,” said Phil McLaughlin, dean of BEM, on Thursday.

And with university fees escalating in the UK, Mr McLaughlin is confident that the new school will be attractive to British applicants: “Bordeaux and Marseille are attractive towns …[we can offer] quality European education at reasonable prices.”

Among the schools’ plans are to open a campus abroad, perhaps in North America or South America, though projects will become clearer over the next few months.

The BEM/Euromed plans follow the announcement last week that Rouen Business School and Reims Management School had also stepped up their plans for a potential merger. The schools have already worked closely together – they launched a joint executive education campus in Paris – and are now in the early stages of taking that co-operation one step further.

Schools in the process of merging might be looking to Skema as an example of how to do it – the two-year-old school was formed by the coming together of two existing institutions, ESC Lille and Ceram, and is doing very well on the international stage– coming into the European Business Schools ranking at 57th.

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