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The Man Who Lost $35 Billion in One Year Has Some Advice for Elon Musk

  • ‘We’re perfectionists, we’re nation-builders,’ Batista says
  • Brazil’s Batista says he’s ‘breeding 15 unicorns in my garage’
Batista in 2012, when he was Brazil’s richest person.

Batista in 2012, when he was Brazil’s richest person.

Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

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Walking down a busy street in Rio de Janeiro one recent afternoon, we bumped into the Brazilian who is best known for losing $35 billion in a single year. After initially trying to deflect questions, he begrudgingly invited us along for a lunch that lasted two hours.

The man, of course, is Eike Batista, who once famously told Mexico’s Carlos Slim to watch out because, he said, he was poised to surpass him as the world’s wealthiest person. Slim has since faded to ninth on the list, Batista to oblivion. Now, he’s staging a comeback. Or trying to, at least. He’s also got lots of ideas for a man on the hot seat right now that he sees as something of a kindred spirit, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and he’s quick to spew criticism at those he feels did in his empire.