Who's Your M&A Consultant, Sun? Jerry Yang?
What’s Sun going to do now?
Shares in the company dropped more than 27 percent percent to $6.48 in premarket trading following reports that Sun’s board rejected a formal acquisition offer by IBM (IBM). After weeks of negotiations, the two companies were thought to be finalizing a deal for about $7 billion. But IBM lowered its offer over the weekend and then withdrew it after Sun balked at the price and terms of the sale. IBM is believed to have originally offered $10 and $11 a share for Sun, but subsequently reduced that bid to $9.40 a share, which was a bit too low for the fading company’s taste.
Seems Sun (JAVA) has quite a bit more in common with Yahoo (YHOO), which notoriously balked at a $44 billion buyout offer from Microsoft (MSFT) last year, than you’d think.
Whether the deal is dead is unclear, but things certainly aren’t looking good–for future negotiations and for Sun, as Sanford Bernstein & Co. analyst Toni Sacconaghi suggested in a research note to clients this morning. “While press reports suggest that the fall-out in discussions may be attributable to brinkmanship, we do think that a collapse in the talks has considerably weakened Sun’s hand, as we see no other likely suitors, and a considerably higher potential for weakened (fiscal year third quarter) results,” he wrote. “… Given the size of the premium and the fact that Sun’s board has presided over a decline in the company’s stock price over the last eight years from over $250/share to less than $5 prior to the acquisition talks being leaked, we believe that (Sun Microsystems) is likely to face significant shareholder unrest, similar to what occurred when Yahoo declined Microsoft’s offer.”
Which means things are about to get ugly–really ugly–for Sun, which doesn’t appear to have any other likely suitors and will almost certainly see its third-quarter results weakened by the doubt it has just instilled in potential customers.