3i will eliminate 17% of staff in strategy shift

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3i Group said the sagging global economy will force it to backtrack at least partially on its recent aggressive growth strategy, cutting 185 jobs, or 17% of its work force, and closing seven regional offices.

Michael Queen, finance director of Europe's largest venture-capital investor, said the decision to cut jobs and close offices would take excess capacity out of the business.

The cutbacks mark a radical change of strategy for the London-based company, which in the past year has been increasing its network across Europe by acquiring other venture capital firms and opening new offices.

Queen said the US, where 3i is keen to expand its presence, is the only country where there will be no layoffs.