Two top national builders with roots in Florida — Lennar and WCI — are planning a merger, the News-Press reported on September 22 (see: "Florida home builders WCI and Lennar agree to merge," by June Fletcher). However, the agreement still must be approved by company stockholders, the paper reports.
Founded in Miami, Florida, in 1954 as F&R Builders, Lennar was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972, and doubled in size in the year 2000 with the acquisition of U.S. Home. In 2016, Lennar was #2 on Hanley Wood's Builder 100 list, with more than 24,000 closings and revenue topping $9 billion in 2015. WCI was #49 on the Builder 100 list this year, with closing of 938 units and revenue of $438 million.
Builder covered the merger story here (see: "Bass Master Stroke: WCI to Sell to Lennar," by John McManus). Tallying up a long list of advantages for each party to the merger, Builder summed up: "The deal is all about timing, and it speaks to a masterful job of optimizing WCI's value by ceo Keith Bass and his team, as it does to an opportunistic past-mid-cycle stroke of brilliance by Lennar ceo Stuart Miller, president Rick Beckwitt, and their team."
Founded in 1995 in Bonita Springs, Florida, WCI Builders went public in 2002, and was named "America's Best Builder" in 2004 by Builder Magazine. But after posting profits of $186 million in the boom year of 2005, the company lost $186 million in the first six months of 2008, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August of that year, as reported at the time in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (see: "WCI Communities files for bankruptcy," by Aaron Kessler).
The company emerged from Chapter 11 in September, 2009, as reported at the time by Law360 (see: "WCI Emerges From Ch. 11 With New Board," by Brendan Pierson).
WCI brings 14,200 home sites to the deal, according to the News-Press. Housing analyst Ivy Zelman, of Zelman Associates, told the paper that she estimates the deal will boost Lennar’s closings by about 4 or 5 percent, and increase its revenue by 5 or 6 percent.