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Sysco to buy US foods for $3.5 billion

Sysco agreed on Monday to buy U.S. Foods for about $3.5 billion in stock and cash, uniting two of the biggest food distributors in the country.

Under the terms of the deal, Sysco will pay $3 billion in stock and $500 million in cash. The transaction will give U.S. Foods’ current owners, the investment firms Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a stake of roughly 13 percent in the combined company.

Including the assumption of U.S. Foods’ debt, the transaction is valued at $8.2 billion.

By buying one of its largest rivals, Sysco will solidify its position as the reigning giant of food distribution. The company, whose trucks move millions of pounds of frozen food and kitchen supplies around the country, expects its annual revenue to grow by 46 percent, to $65 billion.

The deal will also give U.S. Foods’ owners a path to exit their investment. Clayton Dubilier and KKR bought the company from the Dutch grocery store company Royal Ahold in 2007 for about $7.1 billion, which included debt.

—Michael J. De La Merced, The New York Times

North Ko

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Monday confirmed that Jang Song Thaek, the once-powerful uncle of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, had been stripped of his many positions and expelled from the ruling Workers’ Party in the biggest purge since Kim assumed control of the nation two years ago.

Kim, 30, presided over an extended meeting of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee on Sunday where a decision was adopted to purge Jang, 67, and his “group” for counterrevolutionary acts like “attempting to undermine the unitary leadership of the party.”

By singling out Jang and those associated with him, North Korea indicated that it had been removing a vast network of protégés that, according to South Korean intelligence officials, Jang had helped install in the party and military.

—Choe Sang-Hu

Cameras proposed inside cabs of trains

NEW YORK — A week after a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx, killing four people and injuring scores of others, two U.S. senators on Sunday called for Metro-North and other train systems across the country to install onboard video cameras to monitor track conditions and train operators — a system the senators said might have prevented last week’s accident.

Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who have become vocal and frequent critics of Metro-North, said the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the cameras be adopted for all railways after a 2008 fatal collision in California, but that the Federal Railroad Administration had not ordered railway authorities to do so. The board’s recommendation came in a 2010 report on the California crash.

“This isn’t the first time that fatigue has been linked to a serious accident,” Schumer said at a news conference at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. “Better late than never; should’ve done it five years ago, but they should do it now.”

Schumer acknowledged that it was unclear whether cameras would have prevented the derailment, but he said the cameras could alert train operators to track problems and deter drivers from texting or nodding off during trips. Amtrak locomotives already carry the exterior cameras, he said. Some city bus systems and commuter railroads, including the California system involved in the 2008 collision, use driver-monitoring cameras.

—Vivian Yee, The New York Times