EUROPE IN BRIEF

SLUMP IN THE UK
The UK buyout market has dropped to value levels last seen in 1995, at just £994 million (€1.1 billion; $1.5 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to research from the Centre for Management Buyout Research. This is a sharp decline since Q3 2008, when the UK buyout market was valued at £5.6 billion. The report records a decline of £4.7 billion year on year, since a market valuation of £5.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007.

START-UP FUND TURNS TO ANGELS
Par Equity, a Scottish private equity firm founded last year, is on the brink of marketing its debut fund, the Par Innovation Fund I, but is awaiting approval from the UK's Financial Services Authority. In order to start doing deals in the meantime it has launched an angel syndicate arm called Par Syndicate. The angel syndicate will invest in early-stage business opportunities and is being led by Par Equity's advisory panel, headed by Simon Best.

AXA STAFFS UP IN VIENNA
AXA Private Equity has hired Thomas Wilfling to lead its new Vienna office. Wilfling was formerly director of financing for Austria, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa for UniCredit Markets and Investment Banking at Bank Austria Creditanstalt. He will be joined in Vienna by existing AXA professionals Marton Hunek and Dimiter Tschawow.