NEW YORK Harris Corp (HRS.N) began fielding expressions of interest from potential buyers this week, with preliminary bids for the electronics and defense company in the low $70 per share range, or about $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The preliminary bids were less than the $75 to $80 per share range the company's board hopes to fetch, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.
No-one at Harris could immediately be reached for comment.
Having permitted bidders to examine its financial records, the Harris board must now decide whether to push for higher offers or abandon its "soft auction," the Journal said.
The identity of the bidders wasn't known, but analysts have speculated that major defense companies such as General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) are interested in the Melbourne, Florida-based company.
Neither company would comment and a Harris spokesman also declined to comment, the newspaper said.
The Journal said the offers represent a 15 percent premium to Harris's current market value of $8.35 billion.
(Reporting by Steve James; Editing by David Holmes)