Grading

Blackstone Officially Inks Deal to Acquire IGI

GradingMay 22, 2023

Blackstone Officially Inks Deal to Acquire IGI

Blackstone is buying the 80 percent stake in the lab owned by a Chinese company as well as the 20 percent held by the Lorie family.

An International Gemological Institute diamond report
Private equity firm Blackstone has acquired the International Gemological Institute, which operates 29 grading labs and 18 gemology schools across 10 countries.
New York—Private equity giant Blackstone has acquired the International Gemological Institute, the two companies confirmed Sunday in a joint announcement.

The purchase price was $569.7 million, according to a separate statement issued by the lab’s majority owner, a Fosun subsidiary.

Blackstone purchased the grading lab from Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart (Group) Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Fosun, and Roland Lorie, IGI’s CEO and a member of the founding family.

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.

Rumors that Fosun, which is working to reduce debt, wanted to offload its stake in the business first began circulating in January.

Lorie said, “IGI has had a successful track record for close to 50 years since we founded the company, and we are pleased to entrust Blackstone to take IGI on to its next stage of development.

“Under the patronage of Blackstone, we intend to get even closer to the consumer and to grow the business exponentially. The company’s management team is excited to welcome Blackstone and further cement and build upon our market-leading position with the help of Blackstone’s scale, expertise and global network.”

Lorie will remain CEO, he said, while the management team and its nearly 1,000 employees also will remain in place.

Haide Hong, a senior managing director in Blackstone Private Equity Group, said the company has been impressed by IGI’s development under its current management.

“With its strong brand and reputation of upholding the highest standards of quality and authenticity, IGI is well-positioned to benefit from the increasing popularity of gemology,” Hong said.

The acquisition 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.

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