NEW YORK - Australia-based Lend Lease Corp. has purchased New York-based Bovis Group plc for nearly $500 million. The move immediately brings Lend Lease into the construction business in a big way - Bovis has some 5,500 employees and ranks No. 1 in construction management in both the United States and the U.K.

Bovis and Lend Lease worked together on the successful Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, England, and are working on projects in Poland, Spain, the U.K. and Russia. Bovis will absorb the existing Lend Lease Projects, a 1,200-employee company providing project management services in Australia and Asia. The move creates a larger scale operation in Australia and Asia Pacific where Bovis is also active.