SLM Holding Corp., the parent of Sallie Mae, announced plans Wednesday to buy Nellie Mae Foundation for $320 million.
The deal combines two student loan secondary marketing giants. Nellie Mae originated more than $375 million last year, and its $2.6 billion student loan portfolio makes it the seventh-largest federal loan holder in the nation. Sallie Mae owns or manages $47 billion.
The acquisition would be Sallie Mae's largest ever and is designed to increase the company's loan originations. Sallie Mae, the country's largest purchaser of student loans, is converting from a government-sponsored enterprise to a private company.
Sallie Mae chief executive officer Albert L. Lord said the combined company would originate $1 billion in loans next year.
Nellie Mae, originally known as New England Education Loan Marketing Corp., is the parent of Nellie Mae Corp.