BURBERRY UP: Shares of Burberry Group plc spiked 3.5 percent Thursday after a Merrill Lynch analyst said the British luxury group could be the target of an acquisition by one of its competitors. Copies of the research report, by Paris-based analyst Antoine Colonna, were unavailable at press time Thursday, but published reports listed two of Burberry’s fellow players in the luxury sector, New York-based Coach Inc. and Paris-based PPR, as possible suitors. Coach has eschewed acquisitions since spinning off from Sara Lee Corp. in an initial public offering in 2000. PPR has been a major force in the luxury field since it took control of Gucci Group in 2004 after a bitter battle with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In London Stock Exchange trading Thursday, shares of Burberry closed up 41 cents to $12.10. Dollar amounts were converted at current exchange.

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