NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Empire District Electric Co.  (EDE) stock is up by 16.74% to $32.92 on heavy trading volume on Wednesday morning, after the utility company announced it is being acquired by Algonquin Power Acquisition for $2.4 billion.

Algonquin, a Canadian power company, will buy Empire for $34 per share in cash, the companies announced on Tuesday. 

The deal, which will make Empire a subsidiary of Algonquin's Liberty Utilities, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

"We are not only pleased that our shareholders will be fairly compensated for their investment in Empire, but also that we've found a partner who shares our same values, is dedicated to continuing to serve our customers and communities at a high level, and is committed to maintaining the strong working relationships we have developed with our regulatory agencies," Empire CEO Brad Beecher said in a statement.

So far today, 2.18 million shares of Empire have traded, versus its 30-day average of about 409,000 shares. 

Separately, recently, 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.

TheStreet Ratings rates this stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of A-. 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 and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

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