Sun Microsystems would be willing to revive acquisition talks with IBM if the latter company "makes a stronger commitment to complete the purchase," according to a Bloomberg News report.
Sun and IBM could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday on the report, which cited two unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
IBM shares were up about US$1 on the news during early trading, while Sun's rose about $0.05.
Sun's board of directors declined an offer IBM made on April 4 because the price was too low, according to The New York Times. Sun also believed the proposed deal gave IBM too much leeway to walk away, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
While neither Sun nor IBM has officially confirmed the existence of merger talks, the companies have reportedly been in discussions since mid-March or earlier, with the drama playing out in a series of leaks to the media.
The possible merger has been valued at about US$7 billion. If it proceeds, the deal would boost IBM's lead over Hewlett-Packard in the server market. IBM took 31.4 percent of worldwide server revenue in 2008, followed by HP with 29.5 percent, Dell with 11.6 percent and Sun with 10.1 percent, according to figures from IDC.