MIAMI (Hanley-Wood News Service) - Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN), one of the nation's largest homebuilders, on Friday announced it acquired the Fortress Group's homebuilding operations in North and South Carolina. Under the terms of the transaction, Lennar paid approximately $20 million in cash and assumed approximately $30 million in debt. The operations are located in the Raleigh, Charlotte and Charleston markets. During fiscal 2001 the operations being acquired will deliver 650 - 700 homes at an average sales price of approximately $160,000. At November 30, 2001, these operations had approximately 190 homes, or $34 million, in backlog. With this acquisition, Lennar acquired approximately 3,000 owned and controlled homesites. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Lennar's fiscal 2002 earnings per share.

Robert Strudler, chief operating officer of Lennar Corporation, said, ''This acquisition marks the strategic entry of the company into the Carolinas. Following last month's announcement of our acquisition of Patriot Homes, which expanded our position in the Baltimore marketplace, entering the Carolinas is a continuation of our stated strategy of expanding in the fast growing markets along the eastern seaboard.'' Mr. Strudler continued, ''We are excited about entering these markets with two exceptionally strong regional brand names, Sunstar Communities and Don Galloway Homes. We are especially pleased to welcome yet another great team of associates to the Lennar Family of Builders and look forward to working together to further enhance our position in the North and South Carolina markets.''

Lennar Corporation, founded in 1954, is headquartered in Miami, Florida. The company has home building operations in 14 states and is one of the nation's leading builders of quality homes for all generations, building affordable, move-up and retirement homes. Under the Lennar Family of Builders banner, the Company includes the following brand names: Lennar Homes, U.S. Home, Greystone, Village Builders, Renaissance, Orrin Thompson, Lundgren Bros., Winncrest and Rutenberg Homes. The company's active adult and retiree communities are primarily marketed under the Heritage and Greenbriar brand names. Lennar's Financial Services Division provides residential mortgage services, title and closing services, and its Strategic Technologies Division provides high-speed Internet access, cable television and home monitoring services for both Lennar home buyers and other customers.