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Sallie: Flowers Deal Dead

Student loan lender Sallie Mae (SLM) on Wednesday said private equity group J.C. Flowers would not revive the $25 billion buyout deal it abandoned earlier this year.

Sallie also lowered its fourth-quarter and 2008 guidance. Shares were sinking 8.3% to $29.29 in recent trading. That's 50% off its 52-week high of $58, reached in the months after Flowers offered $60 a share for Sallie.

In a statement, Sallie said that over the past eight weeks it had engaged Flowers in discussions intended to resolve differences that led Flowers to back out in September. Flowers, however, indicated "it does not wish to pursue these opportunities," Sallie said.

"The board remains committed to protecting the rights of our shareholders, and will pursue all available recourse, including the company's existing lawsuit against the buyer's group," Sallie said in the statement, referring to its legal action against Flowers and buyout partners Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM).

Sallie said it has "indications of interest" from 10 financial institutions for more than $30 billion in secured warehouse funding.

The news comes as Sallie's earnings are taking a beating. The company reported a $344 million third-quarter loss. Student loan buyer First Marblehead (FMD) on Friday also cut its dividend and suspended securitization of new loans amid mounting losses.

Sallie said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of between 52 cents and 57 cents a share, due to funding costs and increased reserves for its loan portfolio. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are expecting a profit of 71 cents a share.

The company also is lowering its 2008 guidance to between $2.60 and $2.80 a share, from $3.25 a share. Analysts are expecting $3.12 a share, according to Thomson Financial.

The collapse of the Flowers deal for Sallie came as a number of high-profile buyouts, including those of United Rentals (URI) and Harman (HAR), fizzled in the collapsing credit markets.

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