Blackstone acquires International Gemological Institute
International Gemological Institute (IGI), the world’s largest certification player for lab grown diamonds and the second largest certification player for natural diamonds, has been fully acquired by global private equity firm Blackstone. The $535m deal sees Blackstone taking over the 80% stake held by China-based investment firm Fosun, as well as the 20% stake held by Roland Lorie, a member of the founding family.
Blackstone acquires International Gemological Institute: Key Points
- IGI has pioneered the certification of lab-grown diamonds, as well as that of natural diamonds and colored stones, providing confidence to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers globally.
- The deal will enable Blackstone to bring its operational expertise and technological capabilities to IGI’s global footprint of 29 laboratories and 18 schools of gemology across 10 countries.
- Industry estimates suggest that the global lab grown diamonds retail market is currently valued at $7 billion, and has experienced a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15% between CY19-22.
- Comparatively, global natural diamond jewellery retail sales stand at around $80 billion, with a CAGR of 3%. It is notable that 90% of rough diamonds are polished in India.
- However, since June 2020 and the start of a geopolitical standoff with China which resulted in Chinese firms withdrawing their investments in India, Fosun has been divesting its portfolio in the country.
This latest move represents one of the final investments from Fosun’s decade-long portfolio, following the sale of stakes in companies like Ixigo, Kissht, and Delhivery. Fosun is also currently seeking exits from Trell, Gland Pharma, and other investments.