* Britain's largest mortgage lender, Halifax Group, and the Bank of Scotland announced plans to merge in a $40-billion transaction that would create one of the country's five biggest banks. The two lenders would operate under a new holding company, called HBOS, but would continue doing business under their old names. Halifax shareholders would control a majority stake of 63%, with Bank of Scotland shareholders owning the remainder.
* Westwood One Inc., which provides about 7,500 radio and television stations with news, sports, talk and other programs, said first-quarter profit rose 16% to $4.6 million, or 4 cents a share, from $3.96 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based company said. Revenue fell less than 1% to $121.6 million.