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Lloyds TSB is to merge with HBOS in a £12bn deal which will create a banking giant holding close to one-third of the UK's savings and mortgage market.
The firms' boards agreed to a deal, at a price of 232p per HBOS share, following talks on Wednesday.
The deal should calm uncertainty about the strength of Halifax Bank of Scotland after a run on its shares.
HBOS is currently the country's largest mortgage lender with 20% of the market. Lloyds ranks fourth with an 8% share.