In case you missed any of these catchy tunes last week, it's not too late to boogie down. Grab your headphones, CD player, iPod, speakers, guitar, cowbell, whatever you need -- it's time for the M&A Mix Tape.

"Lay Down Sally" by Eric Clapton and Sallie Mae
The big news of last week was the $25 billion deal for education lender SLM Corp (NYSE:SLM), better known as Sallie Mae. Consumer goods, technology, and services are all industries where we're used to seeing private equity activity. But now that utilities like TXU and education lenders like Sallie are on the block, is anyone safe?

The participants in this deal were even more interesting. While we're used to seeing names like KKR, Texas Pacific, and Blackstone, it was J.C. Flowers and Friedman Fleischer & Lowe that engineered this deal. They may not be names on the tips of everyone's tongues, but they nonetheless bring some clout. J.C. Flowers is run by the highly respected former Goldman Sachs investment banker J. Christopher Flowers, who raised $1 billion for his first private equity fund after leaving Goldman in 1998. Don't expect this to be the last you hear about the firm, either, since reports claim he's looking to raise another $8 billion for a second fund.

On the other side of the deal, FFL touts leadership that includes 19-year Morgan Stanley vet Spencer Fleischer and Hellman & Friedman co-founder Tully Friedman. Since its start back in 1998, FFL has worked with a number of notable companies, including Montpelier Re, Tempur-Pedic, and BearingPoint.

Investors are also attracted by the fact that it wasn't just J.C. Flowers and FFL putting equity into this deal. Banking majors JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America bought into the deal for 24.9% each. This has sent ripples through the rest of the student loan industry, and specifically, it has spooked investors in Hidden Gems pick First Marblehead (NYSE:FMD). What remains to be seen is whether this is a first step in a move by the big banks to bring more education lending capabilities in-house.

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2 and Fremont General
When there's blood in the streets, you can bet that the dealmakers will come out to play. Right now, it's hard to think of any industry in more dire straits than subprime lending. With home prices cooling and buyers realizing that they may have gotten themselves in over their heads, subprime lenders are hurting and hurting bad.

Early last week, Fremont General (NYSE:FMT) announced that it had found a buyer for $2.9 billion of subprime loans that it had on its books as held for sale. According to Fremont's press release, the company will take a $100 million pre-tax loss on the sale. In addition, the buyer of the loans took home Fremont's subprime loan servicing platform and a chunk of the subprime loan origination platform.

Interestingly, the buyer was not disclosed, but the name Fortress (NYSE:FIG) was tossed around a bit. If this is the case, it could be Fortress' real estate fund, Newcastle Investment (NYSE:NCT), doing the buying. As I noted, Newcastle was sniffing around a $2 billion pool of subprime loans back in March after raising some cash through a preferred stock offering.

"Put Me in Coach" by John Fogerty and Topps
The action going on over at Topps (NASDAQ:TOPP) brings to light some interesting issues when it comes to private equity taking a public company out of the market. When these deals come together, interests collide from a number of different angles. You have the investors, who obviously want to see the company get the highest buyout price; the buyers, who want to try to pay as little as possible; management, which can be a bit of a wild card; and the board of directors -- well, where exactly do the board of directors stand?

In the case of Topps, the company has accepted a $9.75-per-share offer from Madison Dearborn and Tornante, a fund run by Michael Eisner. Investors were already unhappy with the offer, but have become further peeved by the fact that Topps dismissed a last-minute offer of $10.75 per share -- believed to be from rival Upper Deck.

Management argued that the higher offer had antitrust concerns and the buyer hadn't shown for sure that it had the means to finance the transaction. Plus, had Topps decided to chase the higher bid, it would have had to cough up an $8 million breakup fee to Dearborn and Tornante -- money that would be lost if the new deal fell through.

So the question is whether investors, for whom this is the last bite of the apple, should be happy with the lower offer. Board member Arnaud Ajdler, who owns a stake in Topps through Crescendo Partners, has been a particularly squeaky wheel in the process and is fighting the board to reconsider taking the current offer.

Well, that's it for this album, but be sure to keep tuned in to The Motley Fool for more tunes from the M&A front.

JPMorgan Chase, TXU, and Bank of America are Income Investor recommendations. Find out why with a 30-day free trial of the newsletter. Montpelier Re is a Hidden Gems and Stock Advisor pick.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer is currently ranked 2,569 out of 26,694 Fools participating in The Motley Fool's CAPS service, and he encourages everyone to get heard. He owns shares of Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy doesn't fear the reaper.