UPDATE 3-BlackBerry shares rally on AT&T launch, takeover hopes

Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:31pm EDT
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* Lenovo CEO says may consider BlackBerry deal in the future

* Analysts downplay odds of a Lenovo takeover of BlackBerry

* AT&T says BlackBerry Z10 to hit store shelves on March 22

* Analyst sees margins moving higher with new device sales

* BlackBerry shares close 14 percent higher on Nasdaq, TSX (Adds analyst comments; updates share price move)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, March 11 (Reuters) - BlackBerry shares rose 14 percent on Monday, fueled by takeover speculation and news that AT&T Inc will start selling the new BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone in the United States on March 22.

The speculation was sparked by a comment from the head of China's Lenovo Group Ltd, who told a French newspaper on Monday that the personal computer maker might consider an acquisition of Canada's BlackBerry at some point in the future.

"External growth remains a question of opportunities," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's CEO, in an interview with Les Échos.   Continued...