The Associated Press

BUILDER BUYS RIVAL: Shareholders for Pulte Homes Inc. and Centex Corp. cleared the way for Pulte to acquire its homebuilding rival in an all-stock deal valued at around $1.53 billion.

BIGGEST ON THE BLOCK: The acquisition makes Pulte the nation's largest homebuilder, with operations in 29 states and Washington D.C. The move also bolsters Pulte's cash holdings to around $3.6 billion ¿ a formidable reserve that will help carry it through the housing downturn.

SLASH AND SAVE: Pulte has inherited Centex's bills and now is saddled with around $6.3 billion in corporate debt. To make the most of the deal, Pulte plans to eliminate operations, staff and offices it doesn't need and buy back debt that's coming due in the short-term in hopes of saving about $350 million this year.

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