A merger between IBM and Sun seems all but a certainty now. After breaking the news that the two companies were in talks last month, the New York Times now reports that IBM "is close to a deal to acquire Sun."
Quoting "people familiar with the discussions," the NYT says the transaction would see IBM shell out $9.50 per share. Sun shares are currently trading at around $8.20, and they were sitting below $5 before rumors of the buyout started making the rounds. If the NYT's sources are correct, IBM and Sun may make an announcement about the deal as early as tomorrow.
According to a separate report by the Wall Street Journal, IBM originally offered $10-11 per share, but Sun agreed to a reduced bid "in return for stronger commitments from IBM that it will complete the deal even if it faces intense regulatory scrutiny." While the NYT claims IBM is mainly interested in Sun's Java and Solaris software, a merger would nevertheless see the combined entity hold the lion's share of the *nix server market.