CUnet Acquires Sparkroom

Paramus, New Jersey, and Toronto, Canada, January 11, 2010 — CUnet, a subsidiary of Nelnet Inc. (NYSE: NNI), announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Sparkroom, a leading provider of enrollment marketing automation and lead performance management solutions. The parties anticipate closing the transaction on February 1, 2010.

Sparkroom provides business intelligence and lead delivery software that helps organizations immediately improve marketing efficiency and increase profitability by managing, measuring, and optimizing lead performance across all direct response marketing channels. Sparkroom’s Lead Performance Management product suite, which includes LeadDeliver, LeadIQ, and Lead Market Analytics, enables direct marketers in higher education to:

  • Understand the performance of every lead, regardless of the channel
  • Proactively manage lead vendors
  • Align marketing with sales or enrollment targets
  • Immediately improve the performance of marketing spend

“We are excited by the opportunities created by bringing CUnet and Sparkroom together,” said Matt McLaughlin, President of CUnet. “Sparkroom’s technology products will complement CUnet’s interactive media and marketing services to provide a powerful solution for colleges to drive the most value from their marketing spend. It’s a great fit that will benefit marketers in the higher education sector.”

CUnet provides clients with a wide range of performance marketing services including vendor lead management, call center management, search marketing, display advertising, social media management, mobile marketing, and school operations consulting. Sparkroom’s Lead Performance Management product suite provides comprehensive technology tools to education marketers, allowing them to make faster, data-driven decisions that drive marketing efficiency and business profitability. The companies will offer an industry-leading mix of marketing services and technology solutions for educational institutions from a single provider.

"Sparkroom’s mission is to enable our customers to optimize their investments in interactive direct response marketing," said Jamie McDonald, CEO of Sparkroom. "By teaming up with CUnet, we will accelerate our ability to deliver on that mission and bring new ground-breaking products to the market, which will continue to improve marketing efficiency for higher education marketers.”

Sparkroom co-founders McDonald and Jamie Shulman, Vice President of Operations, will continue to lead Sparkroom and its associates from Toronto.
While the purchase price is not material to Nelnet, the acquisition adds strategic value to the company by broadening its lead generation products and services business and further strengthens its lead generation technology.

About CUnet
CUnet is the premier provider of online performance media and interactive marketing services driving qualified student inquiries and enrollments for the higher education industry. Founded in 2003, the company has grown rapidly to oversee the promotional campaigns of over 1,000 colleges, universities, and career schools throughout the United States and Canada. CUnet is dedicated to creating cost-effective marketing programs using a mix of online media strategies and formats to find prospective students, generate qualified responses, and maximize enrollments and starts. CUnet is a subsidiary of Nelnet, a leader in education planning and financing for more than 30 years. CUnet is based in Paramus, NJ. For more information, visit

About Sparkroom
Sparkroom delivers innovative solutions to direct marketers, including its comprehensive Lead Performance Management software and services. Sparkroom Lead Deliver, Lead IQ, and Lead Market Analytics deliver a hosted business intelligence platform to give direct response marketers the tools and expertise needed to measure, manage, and optimize their lead acquisition spending across every direct response channel. Sparkroom’s software, which it hosts and delivers to its customers on demand, enables customers to capture, store, and analyze information generated by their lead buying activities and to gain critical business insights into the performance and efficiency of marketing and sales initiatives and other business processes. Founded in 2007, Sparkroom is privately held. For more information, visit

Information contained in this press release, other than historical information, may be considered forward-looking in nature and is subject to various risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated, or expected. Among the key factors that may have a direct bearing on Nelnet’s operating results, performance, or financial condition expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements are the uncertain nature of the expected benefits from the acquisition and the ability to successfully integrate operations, changes in terms of student loans and the educational credit marketplace, changes in the demand for educational financing or in financing preferences of educational institutions, students and their families, or changes in the general interest rate environment and in the securitization markets for education loans.

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