Offices close as tech downturn hits VC giant...3i will lay off one in five employees and close seven offices across Europe as the high-tech downturn slashes the value of its investments. The private equity financing group has admitted that its value has fallen 23 per cent, with more than £1bn being wiped off its investments by sliding stocks around the world. 3i shares fell almost eight per cent on the news. The firm's technology investments were responsible for most of the damage, totalling a loss on value of £715m. Chief Executive Brian Larcombe reportedly said the job cuts and office closures are necessary in the light of dramatically falling new investment levels.