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IBM Totally Disses Sun: Report

Sun Microsystems could still be looking for love, but IBM may have a breakup on its mind.

Updated from 12:47 p.m. EDT

Sun Microsystems


is willing to

give it another go

with IBM, according to


, which says that the firm wants



to make a firmer commitment to complete its acquisition.

IBM, however, is not interested in Sun at any price, according to a


report, due to the intense regulatory pressure that would accompany a marriage of the two tech leviathans.

Sun and IBM have not yet responded to the

's request for comment on the status of their relationship, although shares of both companies crept up in Thursday trading, mirroring the broader advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq rise 2.7%. Sun's shares rose 3.8% to $6.36, and IBM's stock rose 2.8% to $101.58.

An IBM takeover of Sun appeared imminent just a couple of weeks ago, although talks subsequently collapsed and IBM reportedly withdrew its offer. Price was apparently a

major sticking point

in the discussions, and IBM was rumored to have


the value of the deal down.

With a possible purchase price of around $6.5 billion, Sun would be IBM's biggest-ever acquisition, although there is a feeling that the deal may not be the

best move

for the Armonk, N.Y.-based company. Among other worries, some say a Sun acquisition could distract IBM from its software and services businesses, which have helped the company weather the downturn in tech hardware spending

IBM would also have to make sense of the execution problems that have hampered Sun in recent years. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm struggled to swallow its acquisition of StorageTek in 2005, and it is seen as one of the tech sector's big underachievers.

Despite repeated attempts by Sun's management to put its house in order, the company's stock has been in retreat for months, and its revenue tumbled 11% year over year in its recent second-quarter results.

If IBM does walk away from the Sun acquisition, it is unclear which other companies, if any, would step in to purchase Sun. Speaking in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday,



CEO John Chambers told journalists that his networking firm was unlikely to make a move for Sun, despite its own recent entry into the server market.

In a recent survey of resellers, analyst firm R.W. Baird found that Sun was cited as a better strategic fit for



, as opposed to IBM. "

This may be true, though we would not want to see Dell attempt to digest a large, complicated entity," wrote Jayson Noland, an analyst at R.W. Baird, in a note released Thursday.

Last month



CEO Paul Otellini said that Sun will eventually spin into IBM's orbit, but added that he is still


the possible impact on his own firm.