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Sallie Mae Surges on Buyout Report

<I>The New York Times</I> says private equity firms could pay $20 billion for the lender.
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Updated from 10:02 a.m. EDT

College lender

SLM Corp.

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, or Sallie Mae, is in talks to be acquired by private equity firms for more than $20 billion,

The New York Times

reported Friday.

Shares were jumping $4.87, or 12%, to $45.62 in early trading.

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, citing people briefed on discussions, said one of the suitors is the Blackstone Group. The paper said it couldn't learn who the other potential buyers were, but another group is believed to include a financial-services firm.

The paper characterized the negotiations as late stage, but said "numerous hurdles" remain.

A Sallie Mae representative declined to comment on the report.

Sallie Mae was created by Congress in the 1970s but was privatized in the 1990s and later became a publicly traded company.

Earlier this week, the company agreed to pay $2 million

to settle alleged college-lending improprieties and conflicts of interest.