Antwerp – Blackstone (NYSE:BX) announced today that private equity funds managed by Blackstone (“Blackstone”) have acquired International Gemological Institute (“IGI”) from Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart (Group) Co., Ltd. (SHSE:600655), a subsidiary of Fosun, and Roland Lorie, who belongs to the founding family.
Founded in 1975 in Antwerp, IGI is a global leader in independent certification of diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry, with a global footprint of 29 laboratories and 18 schools of gemology across 10 countries. IGI is the world’s first gemological laboratory to hold ISO accreditation in both natural and lab-grown diamonds. Since 2005, IGI has pioneered the certification of lab-grown diamonds, paving the authentication and standardization of a rapidly growing industry.
Mukesh Mehta, a Senior Managing Director in 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 successful businesses to help the company expand its global footprint.”
Haide Hong, a Senior Managing Director in Blackstone Private Equity Group, said: “We have been hugely impressed by the development of IGI under the strong leadership of its management team and with the support of Fosun, and we are excited to partner with IGI to help accelerate its growth trajectory. 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.”
Roland Lorie, Chief Executive Officer of 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. 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. 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.”
Kevin Shikun, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Fosun and Co-Chairman of Yuyuan, said: “It has been our pleasure to work with Mr. Roland Lorie and the management team driving IGI’s rapid growth in the past four years. Today, IGI’s business is more diversified and solid with a more globalized landscape. 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.”
Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted as advisors to Yuyuan and Roland Lorie on the transaction. KPMG, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted as advisors to Blackstone.