peHUB First Read

Some links to kick off your Thursday…

* The latest deal damsel in distress is Sallie Mae. The New York Times reports that the buyers hope to pressure Sallie Mae into accepting a lower price, and might be willing to walk away (i.e., pay a $900m breakup fee) if unsuccessful.

* S&P says to expect a tusnami of U.S. corporate defaults. The Financial Times has more. Better start running…

* TechCrunch has the last-ever cover of Business 2.0. Nothing like leaving without ever having to say you’re sorry…

* Allied Capital has sold financial advisory firm Gordian Group back to its founding bankers, according to The Deal.

* For perhaps the first time in the history of private equity conferences, there are enough women present to generate lines outside of the restroom.