As most analyst have expected for about one year now the dividend will have to be cut. Based on earnings the dividend will be cut drastically over time. An 8% yield at a share price of 22 is very realistic.
Duke has checked into this company before and with the stock so low it may be time to look at it again. Hey Utilicorp if you really want a presence in the Midwest add Ameren to your list of MPS, Empire, and St. Joseph. No merger talks are likely to happen until the labor issues are resolved. Any lower though and this company becomes a steal. The earnings potential are huge (location,location,location), Ameren management missed the bandwidth call, and welcome Illinois to the land of deregulation. Ask Illinois Power, how do they like Dynegy now???
You say Duke has looked at Ameren before. And just what is your source for that information? As for Utilicorp, they are aggressive, but Ameren would be a big bite for them. All in all, I'm sure Ameren is on the short list of many.