NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Kinder Morgan  (KMI - Get Report) has agreed to pay $3 billion to purchase oil and gas firm Hiland Partners from its founder Harold Hamm, giving it a major entry into the Bakken basin in North Dakota, one of the most fertile producing areas in the U.S., Barron's reports.

Kinder announced that COO Steve Kean will become CEO in June, replacing Richard Kinder, who will remain as executive chairman, according to Barron's.

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The company upped its quarterly dividend 2.3% to 45 cents, payable February 17 to shareholders of record as of February 2.

While the stock has gained 9.6% over the past three months, shares of Kinder Morgan are down 1.19% to $41.50 in pre-market trade

TheStreet Ratings team rates KINDER MORGAN INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate KINDER MORGAN INC (KMI) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 15.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $286.00 million to $329.00 million.
  • 43.16% is the gross profit margin for KINDER MORGAN INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 7.66% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,289.00 million or 21.60% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.81%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: KMI Ratings Report
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