IBM's acquisition of Sun Microsystems looks like it's almost toast.
According to the Wall Street Journal, talks between IBM and Sun are about to collapse. Sun's board reportedly shot down a formal offer by IBM Saturday. IBM's price: $9.40 a share or below. Sun's reaction: That's too low.
After the legal review, IBM shaved its offer Saturday from $9.55 a share, the offer on the table late last week, to $9.40 a share, said one person familiar with the talks. The offer was presented to Sun’s board on Saturday, and it balked. The Sun board did not reject the offer outright, but wanted certain guarantees that the IBM side considered “onerous,” according to that person.
Sun's future---and arguably the best deal it can get for the forseeable future---could be squandered over 15 cents a share.
Now this story may be just a plant just to get some leverage, but it's fairly clear that any advantage clearly rests with Big Blue. Sun has been offered around and no one nibbled. Meanwhile, Sun isn't in much of a position to negotiate a higher price. Before word of IBM's offer, Sun shares were below the $5 mark.
If the IBM offer falls through---and it sounds like it will---Sun shares are likely to retreat to the $5 mark again.
While the Sun deal makes sense to IBM it's not like Big Blue needs Sun. IBM can continue on its current path. On the other hand, Sun can't.
A look at the IBM-Sun saga to date: