The foundation for the first of what could be a wave of deals in the badly beaten up homebuilding sector may in some ways have been laid in industry conferences and other interactions between chief executives.

Centex Chief Executive Timothy Eller and Pulte’s Richard Dugas have known each other for a long time and the possibility of a transaction was not new, people familiar with the matter said. 

Eller and Dugas did not discuss any specific terms when they talked about a deal earlier, but when talks began in earnest some two months ago an agreement was reached fast, one of the sources said. 

Pulte agreed to buy Centex for $1.3 billion in an all-stock deal that would create the largest U.S. homebuilder. 

Centex had been conducting an internal review and spoke to other parties as well but finally settled on Pulte, according to these sources.