Software giant Oracle Corporation will purchase hardware and server maker Sun Microsystems in a cash-for-stock deal that is valued at approximately $7.4 billion. A joint statement from both companies says that Oracle will acquire Sun's common stock for $9.50 per share, pending government regulatory and Sun stockholder approvals. "The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems," says Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system -- applications to disk -- where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves." Scott McNealy, Sun's board chair, says, "Oracle and Sun have been industry pioneers and close partners for more than 20 years. This combination is a natural evolution of our relationship and will be an industry-defining event." The purchase deal comes two weeks after IBM ended its merger discussions with Sun; industry sources say the Sun board rejected IBM's offer of $9.40 per share. The companies expect to complete the transaction sometime this summer.