IBM could announce its $7-billion acquisition of Sun as early as today, with the board having reportedly already approved the deal.
According to a report in the New York Times, an announcement could come today although it is more likely to be made early next week.
Apparently, IBM is now offering $9,50 per share for Sun. Although this is down from the $10.00 earlier put forward, it is still about double what Sun shares were trading at when rumours about the acquisition first began last month.
It is believed that up to 100 IBM lawyers have spent the last few weeks examining Sun's patents and licencing agreements, working out of a Silicon Valley hotel.
Sun offers not only high-end servers but also software, systems design and research.
This would tie in with IBM's recent moves away from hardware dependence to a more software and services focus.
In addition, say analysts, Sun has a history of technological innovation, having created Solaris and Java as well as its SPARC-based servers.
Analysts believe Solaris and Java are the main attractions. IBM already uses Java extensively in its software group and has its own Java development tools.
If Sun and IBM were to combine their Java efforts, they would present a more formidable opposition to Microsoft.
In addition, both companies are strong proponents of Linux and open source software.
Should the two companies tie up, they would hold a combined 65% market share for servers running Unix and 42% of the total server market.