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PAI in move to shrink 5.4bn buyout fund

PAI PARTNERS, mainland Europe&rsquo;s biggest private equity group, has offered to let its investors halve their commitments to a &euro;5.4bn (&pound;3.3bn) buyout fund as it seeks to resolve a row over its future.<br /><br />The Paris-based group, whose two top executives quit last month, made the non-binding offer on its most recent fund in a letter to investors.<br /><br />The move reflects a shrinking private equity market and follows agreements to cut investor commitments by rivals Permira and TPG in recent months as funding patterns for mergers and acquisitions have changed. <br /><br />PAI&rsquo;s fund V has invested about one fifth of investors, money, and a 50 per cent reduction in undrawn commitments would cut the overall fund to about &euro;3.2bn. <br /><br />PAI, whose investments include stakes in Spanish retailer Cortefiel and French IT group Atos Origen, will hold more meetings with investors before posting a binding offer on which a vote will be held after six weeks. <br /><br />PAI&rsquo;s chief executive Dominique Megret and his right-hand man Bertrand Meunier announced their departures in August after a dispute with the firm&rsquo;s other partners. PAI was not available for comment.