IBM is said to be doing due diligence on Sun Microsystems prior to making an offer to purchase the Silicon Valley-based IT company.
The Wall Street Journal reports that two people close to the talks confirm that IBM lawyers are going through Sun's documents to make sure it doesn't take on anything unexpected.
Both companies still refuse to comment on speculation that an acquisition is on the cards – but neither have they denied it.
So the rumour that a buy-out could go ahead for anything between $6,5-billion and $8-billion is still rife.
During the due diligence, IBM would be ensuring there are no anti-trust concerns, shareholders who might block a sale, contracts with employees or suppliers, and technology patents.
And this part of the negotiations could take up to a couple of months to finalise.
IBM is no stranger to acqusitions. Some of the major buys it has made over the last year or so include ILOG, Cognos, Telelogic, Diligent Technologies, FilesX, InfoDyne, Encentuate, Arsenal Digital Solutions, AptSoft, Net Integration Technologies and XIV.