IBM withdrew a $7 billion offer to buy Sun Microsystems this weekend after Sun's board called the bid too low, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sun also worried that IBM sought too much leeway to walk away from the deal if antitrust regulators challenged the merger, insiders say. People expected Sun to fetch around $11 per share, but as the company demanded an ironclad deal, IBM's offer sank to $9.40 per share.
Sun has terminated IBM's right to exclusive talks, but no word yet on whether other companies are interested. Sun's investment bankers knocked on doors of major info-tech companies this winter, after IBM expressed interest, but received no other takers. Perhaps these developments are all late-stage brinkmanship leading to a merger down the road, the Journal reports.