Lloyds Banking Group has fought off a raft of rivals to snap up Tesco Bank's mortgage business for around £3.8 billion.

The deal will see more than 23,000 residential mortgage customers transfer to Lloyds-owned business Halifax in a move cementing the bank's position as Britain's biggest lender.

The sale of the portfolio, which has a lending balance of around £3.7 billion, is expected to be completed by the end of March next year.

It comes after Tesco Bank said in May it was stopping new mortgage lending and put the business up for sale amid challenging market conditions.

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Gerry Mallon, Tesco Bank chief executive, said: "Our focus is on how we best serve Tesco customers and align our resources effectively to their needs, while ensuring that our offer remains sustainable in the long term.

"As a result, we made the decision to move away from our mortgage offering.

"Our priority throughout has been to complete a commercially acceptable transaction with a purchaser who will continue to serve our customers well."

Lloyds beat high street competitors including Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland to secure the portfolio.

Vim Maru, group director of retail at Lloyds Banking Group, said: "This is a good deal for the group, our shareholders and Tesco's mortgage customers.

"We believe our Halifax brand will make a good home for these customers and we look forward to welcoming them to the group."

Wagamama owner The Restaurant Group slid to a hefty loss after it was weighed down by a £100 million impairment charge.

The group, which also owns Frankie & Benny's, posted an £87.7 million pre-tax loss in the six months to June 30, falling from a £12.2 million profit in the same period last year.

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The company said it is "mindful" of the challenging headwinds currently facing the casual dining sector and is also planning ahead with the "uncertainties" created by a no-deal Brexit in mind.

Debbie Hewitt, non-executive chairman of The Restaurant Group, said: "We have traded well throughout the first half of the year, delivering 4% like-for-like sales growth, driven by the market out-performance of Wagamama and our concessions and pubs businesses.

"Our leisure business delivered a marginal decline in like-for-like sales despite benefiting from the weaker comparatives following last year's extreme weather and football World Cup.

"We continue to focus on improving our brand offerings and delivering the best possible experience to our customers whilst optimising our leisure business to enhance the overall group performance."

Plumbing giant Ferguson has announced plans to break up and create a separate UK business.

The firm said that it will split off its UK operations as Wolseley UK following a lengthy strategic review of the group.

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The new business will be able to "focus exclusively on customers in the UK market", while the remaining Ferguson business will primarily serve North America.

Ferguson said Wolseley UK will be an independently-listed business, adding that the board is considering the "most appropriate listing structure" for the group going forward.

Recently, the company's UK division has struggled in difficult market conditions, posting lower revenues, as it axed branches and quit its unprofitable wholesale business.

Ferguson also confirmed on Tuesday that chief executive John Martin is set to leave the company on November 19 following nine years on the board.