Grading

Report: Blackstone to Buy IGI for Up to $550M

GradingMay 19, 2023

Report: Blackstone to Buy IGI for Up to $550M

The deal could be signed as early as this weekend, according to a report by The Economic Times.

An International Gemological Institute diamond grading report
Private equity firm Blackstone is set to buy the International Gemological Institute, which operates 20 grading labs and 14 gemology schools worldwide, for up to $550 million, as per an Economic Times report.
New York—Private investment giant Blackstone is preparing to buy the International Gemological Institute (IGI) for up to $550 million, according to a report by the Economic Times.

Earlier this year, IGI CEO Roland Lorie confirmed reports that Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. was considering selling its stake in IGI.

Fosun acquired an 80 percent stake in the business in 2018, while the remaining 20 percent stayed with its founders, the Belgium-based Lorie family.

The family founded IGI in Antwerp in 1975. It now operates 29 grading labs and 18 gemology schools across 10 countries.

Blackstone is expected to sign a binding agreement with Fosun, the Lorie family and IGI’s other shareholders as early as this weekend, according to The Economic Times. IGI is valued at $500 million to $550 million.

IGI and Blackstone declined to comment on the report.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Fosun has been cutting costs recently in an effort to reduce its debt, noted the report.

The Chinese conglomerate has $36 billion in debt, and the company told analysts last fall it was looking to sell $11 billion in assets to help pay it down.

The news follows other recent mergers and acquisitions among the industry’s grading labs.

Earlier this month, Israel-based equipment and technology company Sarine completed its acquisition of a majority stake in the Gem Certification and Assurance Laboratory (GCAL), founded by Don and Pamela Palmieri in 2001.

In October 2022, the American Gem Society announced it would close AGS Laboratories at the end of 2022 and merge its operations with the Gemological Institute of America.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated post-publication to reflect the current number of grading labs and gemology schools operated by IGI.

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