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Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2000

DST in talks for Sallie Mae

Firm would buy Lawrence center, offer jobs to 300 workers

October 26, 2000

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A Kansas City financial services company is in negotiations to buy Sallie Mae's loan servicing center in Lawrence, a deal that would include offers of employment for the center's 300 employees.

DST Systems Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., wants to buy the 52,000-square-foot building at 2000 Bluffs Drive, which Sallie Mae had expected to close by year's end.

Sources said the deal would include offers of employment for workers who eight weeks ago had been advised to look for other jobs.

Debi Moore, senior vice president for economic development at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said late Wednesday that she could not confirm the company's identity, citing confidentiality concerns.

But Moore did say that she had been working for three months with a company interested in buying the place.

"It is a company that would utilize the skills that the current Sallie Mae employees have," Moore said. "It is a great fit between the two companies.

"If everything works out, there would not be a light switch turned off. One day the employees would be employed by Sallie Mae. The next day they would be employed by the other company."

DST Systems provides information processing and computer software services to the financial services industry, primarily for mutual funds and investment managers.

Jennifer Scoles, a DST spokeswoman, declined to discuss the prospects for the Lawrence center.

"It is not our general practice to comment on any negotiations that we may be entered into," Scoles said.

Sallie Mae announced Aug. 31 that it would be closing its Lawrence center and consolidating its operations into another center in Indianapolis. The decision came after Sallie Mae acquired the student loan business of USA Group.

In Lawrence, Sallie Mae employees handle collections and customer service for student loans.

Last week DST Systems reported revenues of $1.01 billion for the first three quarters of 2000.

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