Blackstone on May 21 announced that the private equity funds managed by it have acquired the International Gemological Institute from Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart (Group) Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Fosun and Roland Lorie, who is related to the founding family.
The enterprise value of the deal is between $525 million and $535 million, sources told Moneycontrol.
Founded in 1975 in Antwerp, IGI is a global leader in the independent certification of diamonds, gemstones, and jewellery. It has 29 laboratories and 18 schools of gemology spread across 10 countries. The institute is also the world’s first gemological laboratory to hold ISO accreditation in both natural and lab-grown diamonds and since 2005, it has been certifying lab-grown diamonds, paving the way for authentication and standardization of the rapidly growing industry.
Mukesh Mehta, senior Managing Director, Blackstone Private Equity Group, said: “IGI has spearheaded the certification of natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and coloured stones, becoming a global market leader. We are bringing the best of Blackstone to the business – our operational expertise, capabilities in technology, and global track record in building successful businesses to help the company expand its global footprint.”
Roland Lorie, CEO, IGI, 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.”
Kevin Shikun, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Fosun and Co-Chairman of Yuyuan, said: “We believe IGI is about to embark on a new journey of rapid growth with Blackstone’s global synergy. As the flagship of Fosun’s consumer sector investments, Yuyuan is expecting positive impacts on its financials through this sale, and further focusing of resources on the company’s key strategies and projects.”
Notably, the leading diamond certification firm owed its lenders $150 million.
Blackstone said in a release that Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted as advisors to Yuyuan and Roland Lorie for the transaction, while KPMG, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted as advisors to Blackstone.