Bruce has been in talks with Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn for the last few days after the Black Cats were given permission to speak to Bruce by Wigan.
Latics chairman Dave Whelan wanted £3million in compensation for letting Bruce go and Sunderland have stumped up the cash.
Sky sources understand a three-year deal has been agreed in principal to see Bruce succeed Ricky Sbragia at the Stadium of Light.
Eric Black, Bruce's assistant at Wigan, Nigel Spink, his goalkeeping coach and Keith Bertschin, the reserve-team coach, are all expected to head to Wearside.
The move is expected to be officially announced later this week, leaving Wigan with a vacant manager's job to be filled.