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Blackstone Set to Buy Diamond Grading Co IGI for Up to $550m

Blackstone is set to buy out International Gemological Institute (IGI), the world’s biggest independent diamond-grading firm, from China’s Fosun International, founders Lorie family and other small shareholders at an enterprise value of $500-$550 million, two people directly aware of the development said. IGI has $150 million of debt. The world’s largest private equity firm is expected to sign a binding agreement with Fosun and IGI’s other shareholders in Europe soon, maybe as early as this weekend.

Founded in 1975, the Antwerp-based IGI provides grading certifications for diamonds, coloured gemstones and jewellery for clients worldwide. IGI certifications are internationally accepted for both mined and lab-grown diamonds. India is the world’s biggest diamond cutting and polishing hub, accounting for nine out of ten stones sold worldwide, predominantly from Surat. US is the world’s largest market for finished diamonds.

Diamonds, especially those mined in Russia, are at centre stage of potential G7 sanctions as NATO allies look to block diamond exports from Russia in an effort to squeeze funding for the ongoing Ukraine war.

Emails sent to Fosun International remained unanswered until press time on Wednesday. Blackstone declined to comment.

ET had first reported on March 10 that three private equity suitors — Blackstone, Goldman Sachs private equity and CVC Capital — were in the fray to acquire IGI ..

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