Raining cats and dogs? For


( RAL) shareholders,



purchase is manna from heaven.

The pet food company was flying in pre-market action, trading on news the company is being sold to Swiss food giant Nestle.

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Nestle is paying $10.3 billion, or $33.50 a share, to buy the business, which will be called Nestle Purina Pet Care. The purchase price represents a 36% premium over Ralston's closing price on Friday of $24.63. Lately, the shares were traded at $31.75, up $7.13, giving it a 29% gain in preopen trading. It was the most active stock on electronic trading network


, where investors can get in their trades before the opening bell.

Wasting no time at all,

Goldman Sachs

analyst Romitha Mally downgraded shares of Ralston Purina to market performer and removed the shares from the company's recommended list. But

Merrill Lynch

upgraded its intermediate-term rating to buy from outperform due to strength in the industry.