*UPDATE: IBM is now said to be offering $10-$11 per share.
EARLIER: After months of knocking on doors at HP and Dell, Sun Microsystems may have found itself a buyer.
The WSJ reports IBM made a $6.5 billion offer to buy Sun — a 100% premium over its closing price Tuesday.
The deal, which would be IBM’s biggest ever, could close as early as this week.
It might also still fall apart, warn the WSJ’s “sources familiar,” who are probably execs eager to see how the market would react to their plan.
Acquiring Sun would mark a sharp turn for IBM. For the the better part of the last decade, Big Blue shed hardware operations to focus on its software and services businesses.
But acquiring Sun would help IBM take on new rival Cisco in the server sales business. It also counters hardware maker HP’s EDS acquisition, which moved HP into closer competition with IBM in the enterprise software market.
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