International Business Machines has lowered its offer price for Sun Microsystems to $9.50 a share from $9.55 a share, although they are still in talks and the deal is not final, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Saturday.

An IBM spokesman declined comment. The companies have not confirmed talks, but a source told Reuters on Thursday that the deal price had been negotiated down to $9.55 share and that a deal could be announced some time next week.

The deal is seen as a way for IBM to bolster its offering of computer servers, storage equipment and software as competition heats up with rivals like Hewlett-Packard .

The latest offer price represents a 91 percent premium to Sun's $4.97 close on March 17, a day before talks between the two technology companies were first reported.

The deal would be IBM's largest acquisition to date, and analysts say it will likely face intense antitrust scrutiny in the United States and Europe because it will give IBM a substantial lead in high-end business computers.

Some also say that Sun's software assets will help IBM compete more efficiently as large technology companies like Cisco Systems Inc seek to offer customers a comprehensive set of products including computer hardware, and Web-based software.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, editing by Jackie Frank)