Report: IBM, Sun Deal Said to Be Close

IBM and Sun Microsystems are close to a deal under which IBM will acquire Sun Microsystems for about US$9.50 per share, The New York Times reported in its online edition Thursday afternoon.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with discussions between the companies, the DealBook column of the Times' business section reported that the deal could be imminent and announced as soon as Friday.

The Wall Street Journal earlier Thursday afternoon reported that IBM had dropped its takeover price from $10 to $11 a share to $9 to $10, also citing unnamed sources. Sun agreed to the lower price "in return for strong commitments from IBM that it will complete the deal even if it faces intense regulatory scrutiny," the Journal said, again citing anonymous sources.

Analysts have noted that overlap between the two companies could lead to regulatory issues and the Journal further reported that Sun is also concerned that such matters would keep the deal on hold for an extended period and lead to conditions being imposed for the acquisition to be finalized.

If the two companies join forces, they will have more than 40 percent of server market share.

A Sun spokeswoman and an IBM spokesman said separately that their companies do not comment on rumors -- the standard line in such instances.

Shares in both companies were trading higher late Thursday, with IBM up by 4.14 percent to $101.65 and Sun up 0.16 percent to $8.16.

(Agam Shah in San Francisco contributed to this report.)

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