Toll Brothers buys Shapell Industries for $1.6 billion

For $1.6 billion, Toll Brothers has agreed to purchase Beverly-Hills-based Shapell Industries, a family-owned luxury home-building business founded by the late Auschwitz survivor Nathan Shapell.

The deal, which seeks to greatly expand (more than double) Toll Brothers' burgeoning California presence, includes Shapell's land portfolio of roughly 5,200 home sites in many lucrative coastal communities that are difficult to obtain.

"Shapell's current portfolio dovetails perfectly with our own California footprint and luxury brand, and adds meaningfully to our presence in premier coastal locations in California," said Toll Brothers CEO Douglas C. YearleyJr. "Based on our two decades in the California market, we believe the experienced Toll Brothers and Shapell teams will continue to bring outstanding lifestyle communities and homes to buyers in Northern and Southern Coastal California for many years to come. We look forward to welcoming a very talented group of Shapell employees to the Toll Brothers team."

Founded in 1955 by Nathan Shapell, his brother David Shapell and his brother-in-law Max Webb, Shapell Industries has been responsible for more than 70,000 homes in affluent California markets. Vera Guerin, Nathan's daughter, inherited her father's stake in the company before his death and is expected to emerge from the deal as a billionaire, Bloomberg reported. Shapell will still own 10,000 apartments after the transaction is completed.

According to Toll Brothers, the company expects to realize a significant return on its investment within 18 months of the transaction's close, which is slated for the first quarter of 2014.