Sun Microsystems is to be bought by a large IT vendor after all, but it won't be IBM, which is now out of the picture for good. The new suitor is Oracle.

The deal size named by the Associated Press is $7.4 billion (£5 billion), slightly higher than the sum IBM was reported to be considering paying several weeks ago. That deal foundered after Sun's board rejected the price as too low and the likelihood that the deal would happen as too uncertain.

What sets this deal apart from the IBM affair is that the Sun board has reportedly approved the takeover, which will bring to an end nearly 30 years of proud independence for Sun.

"We expect this acquisition to be accretive to Oracle's earnings by at least 15 cents on a non-GAAP basis in the first full year after closing. We estimate that the acquired business will contribute over $1.5 billion to Oracle's non-GAAP operating profit in the first year, increasing to over $2 billion in the second year."

"This would make the Sun acquisition more profitable in per share contribution in the first year than we had planned for the acquisitions of BEA, PeopleSoft and Siebel combined," claimed Oracle President Safra Catz.

The Sun deal looks like a better fit for Oracle than it did for IBM - Sun's Solaris is a major platform for the database company. The need to make sure this platform from a continues in existence was probably motivation enough for Oracle.

The deal, which is at a hefty share premium to Friday's closing price, is expected to close this summer.