On May 21st, Global investment firm Blackstone completed the acquisition of the International Gemological Institute (IGI) for an estimated amount of $530 million. The strategic move signifies Blackstone’s foray into the gemological industry, leveraging the significant growth potential and rising demand for certified gemstones and jewelry.
Founded in 1975 in Antwerp, IGI, a highly regarded institution renowned for its expertise in gemological certification and education, operates in more than 18 countries and is widely recognized as a trusted authority in assessing and certifying diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry.
This acquisition aligns with Blackstone’s overarching investment strategy, focusing on high-growth sectors and expanding its presence in the consumer goods industry. By integrating IGI’s extensive global network, exceptional reputation, and specialized knowledge, Blackstone aims to capitalize on the burgeoning luxury market’s increasing preference for certified and ethically sourced gemstones. A statement said Blackstone had purchased an 80% stake from Fosun and 20% from the Lorie family.
Mukesh Mehta, senior managing director of Blackstone Private Equity Group said, “IGI has spearheaded the certification of natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and colored stones, becoming a global market leader and providing confidence to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers around the world. We are bringing the best of Blackstone to the business – our operational expertise, capabilities in technology, and global track record in building businesses to help the company expand its global footprint.”
The acquisition of IGI affords Blackstone a solid foundation in the gemological sector, providing ample opportunities to capitalize on the institution’s established brand, infrastructure, and market positioning. By investing a substantial sum of approximately $530 million, Blackstone demonstrates its confidence in the value and growth potential of IGI.
“IGI has been a pioneer in developing products adapted to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers’ expectations. Under the patronage of Blackstone, we intend to get even closer to the consumer and to grow the business exponentially,” said Roland Lorie, Chief Executive Officer of IGI.
“Today, IGI’s business is more diversified and solid with a more globalized landscape,” said Kevin Shikun, co-chief investment officer of Fosun and co-chairman of Yuyuan, a subsidiary of Fosun. Shikun stated that the sale is expected to have a positive impact on Yuyuan’s financials and enable a sharper focus on the company’s key strategies and projects.
Since the initiation of the geopolitical standoff with China in June 2020, which resulted in Chinese firms divesting from Indian investments, Fosun has been gradually reducing its portfolio in the country. This recent divestment represents one of the final investments from Fosun’s nearly decade-long presence in India. This strategic move reinforces Blackstone’s commitment to identifying and investing in industries poised for long-term success. It showcases the company’s ability to seize promising opportunities and reinforces its position as a key player in the investment landscape.
Blackstone’s acquisition of the International Gemological Institute serves as a pivotal step in expanding the firm’s presence in the gemological industry. With the growing demand for certified gemstones and jewelry, Blackstone’s strategic investment highlights its ability to identify lucrative sectors and underscores its dedication to enhancing its portfolio.