Well a few thought the same thing about the sleepy little utility in Vermont. Skidding along for years and years between 19-24 bucks, paying a dividend around 4-4.5% a share. Investors woke up one morning and there it was. A buyout from a Canadian utility for $35.00 per share. A huge premium to the $24 bucks or so it was trading at the time.
Yes that was CV / Central Vermont. Nobody predicted this move, but the acquiring company saw value and almost bought it until another company offered a slight bit more.
Moral of the story is that these stocks are not just traded in the hometown or region. The investors will make the decision of whether the buyout is appeasing or not. After all the CEO will be the most motivated because for him or her it is retirement time!
Right now Empire looks attractive because no dividend is being paid. It makes it much easier for an acquiring company.