Pulte Homes gets shareholders' OK to buy Centex

Two of the Sacramento region's biggest home building companies, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes, won shareholder approvals Tuesday to merge into the nation's largest home builder and assume a commanding 17 percent market share in the capital region.

Michigan-based Pulte said it will continue the Centex brand following its purchase, which will initially put 140 Sacramento-area building industry employees under one roof. The firms have 500 employees in California.

Some, however, face layoffs as the firms consolidate, said Chris Cady, Pulte's Sacramento-Reno division president.

"There will be some overlaps and efficiencies we have to work through," said Cady, Pulte's 13-year Sacramento division president. "Some of these decisions are obviously going to have to be made pretty quick."

Centex shares will be swapped for about $1.6 billion in Pulte shares, and Pulte is taking over Centex debt, according to regulatory filings. In their recent quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Pulte reported $1.64 billion in cash and equivalents and Centex had $1.4 billion.

The merger of two former rivals comes as the home building sector continues to struggle nationally, and especially in the Sacramento region. Builders are on track to sell about 4,000 homes this year in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. That's estimated to be the fewest in at least two decades as a decimated building industry tries to compete for buyers against bank repos.

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