Batista Dines With Nadal as IMX Venture Comforts Partners

Eike Batista’s sports venture with IMG Worldwide Inc. has the resources to operate and grow irrespective of the fate of the former billionaire’s other businesses, Chief Executive Officer Alan Adler said.

IMX, based in Rio de Janeiro, has reassured partners that a crisis of confidence involving Batista’s EBX Group Co. of commodities startups won’t affect its operations, Adler said in an interview yesterday. The company has “unique” assets that generate profit, he said from the ATP Rio Tennis Open that IMX is organizing this week.

Batista, who became Brazil’s richest person by listing six startups from 2006 to 2012, lost more than $30 billion of his fortune as missed targets and mounting debt sent shares and bonds of his companies plunging. The tycoon, who ceded his billionaire status in July, saw his oil and ship-building units file for bankruptcy protection late last year.

“Of course because of Eike’s credibility crisis it affected us a little bit in terms of the confidence of our partners that we can deliver and still go on, but we are good,” said Adler, a former Olympic level sailor. “IMX is a company that will continue to operate and has resources to operate, resources to deliver what we committed to.”

IMX, which is also part of the group created to operate Rio’s legendary Maracana stadium, bought rights to host South America’s only ATP World Tour 500 tournament, featuring the world’s top-ranked tennis player Rafael Nadal. The competition is expected to be profitable for IMX despite being an inaugural event as tickets for all sessions sold out, Alder said during the interview.

Sports Lover

While Batista isn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of IMX, on Feb. 16 he had dinner with Nadal and Adler at Mr. Lam, the Chinese restaurant owned by the entrepreneur in Rio’s Lagoa neighborhood, the IMX CEO said. Nadal’s publicist Benito Perez-Barbadillo confirmed the social encounter, saying the tennis player and his team appreciated the dinner invitation.

IMX doesn’t have any plans to divest more assets after selling a stake in the Rock in Rio music promoter venture even if Batista is divesting some of his other businesses, Adler said. EBX owns 50 percent of IMX with New York-based talent agency IMG holding the rest of the venture created in late 2011. The company also has a venture with Cirque du Soleil and manages a portfolio that includes sailing’s Volvo Ocean Race.

“He loves the business,” Adler said of Batista. “Who doesn’t like sports and entertainment?”

To contact the reporters on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at tpanja@bloomberg.net; Juan Pablo Spinetto in Rio de Janeiro at jspinetto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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