NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Westar Energy (WR) are rising by 0.04% to $56.30 in midday trading on Thursday, after rival electric utility company Great Plains Energy (GXP) announced plans to acquire the business for $8.6 billion earlier in the week.

Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light, will assume $3.6 billion of Westar's owed debt, increasing the value of the deal to $12.2 billion. In return, Great Plains' customer base will rise to 1.5 million in Kansas and Missouri.

The companies plan to close the deal by the spring of 2017.

As a result, Barclays raised its price target on the stock to $60 from $45 and maintained its "equal weight" rating this morning.

"We maintain our 'equal weight' rating on WR and our price target is $60 assuming the merger closes within 12 months," Barclays analysts said in an investor note.

Westar is an electric utility company headquartered in Topeka, KS, which provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings rated Westar Energy as a "buy" with a score of A+.

This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance.

TheStreet Ratings feels its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: WR

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

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