IMG and Brazil’s richest man form joint venture

November 10, 2010

IMG Worldwide, the global sports and media company and EBX Group, the prominent Brazilian conglomerate with activities in mining, logistics, energy and oil and gas, have agreed to the formation of a 50/50 joint venture to develop a broad range of sports and entertainment businesses in Brazil.

EBX is owned by Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man and eighth in the world according to Forbes magazine, with a wealth worth $27 billion. He was also one of the main backers of Rio de Janeiro’s successful 2016 Olympic bid.

The principles of the joint venture were agreed to between Eike Batista, the founder and Chairman of EBX Group, and Ted Forstmann, Chairman and CEO of IMG Worldwide, last week at EBX’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. The formal agreement is being prepared and is expected to be signed shortly. The joint venture will be called IMGX (the letter X symbolizing the multiplication of wealth that is featured in the names of all of Eike Batista’s companies).

“I am very happy to set up this joint venture with IMG, a globally recognized group for developing sports and entertainment properties,” said Eike Batista.  “Ted Forstmann is an impressive and knowledgeable entrepreneur, with an outstanding reputation and a unique vision of using sports and entertainment as a way to stimulate education, to create jobs, pride and thus improve the self esteem of people. Ted is transforming IMG from a talent agency to a worldwide sports and media company, and this joint venture can really benefit from this expertise. Together we can take advantage of the great opportunities Brazil will have in the sports and entertainment arenas, especially considering the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Batista added.

“I am extremely pleased to be forming a business with someone of Eike Batista’s international, entrepreneurial reputation,” said Ted Forstmann.  “The success of the diverse businesses that he has created from scratch has been truly amazing.  Eike’s focus on the infrastructure sectors, technology and natural resources has made an enormous contribution to his country, as Brazil advances to become the fifth largest economy in the world by 2015. I believe our new joint venture offers a myriad of very significant business opportunities.  It is my hope and expectation that IMG’s joint ventures in Brazil, India and China will be mutually beneficial,” Forstmann concluded.”

The Brazilian entrepreneur Eike Batista is investing US$ 15 billion until 2012 in the natural resources and infrastructure sectors in Brazil, Chile and Colombia, through five companies listed in the BMF&Bovespa Stock Exchange, with a total market capitalization of close to US$ 60 billion.  In parallel, Eike Batista also has investments in the entertainment and hospitality businesses in Rio de Janeiro through the Chinese restaurant Mr. Lam, the touristic ship Pink Fleet, the Gloria Palace Hotel and the concession of Marina da Gloria, which will serve the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics Games.

This joint venture in Brazil is part of Ted Forstmann’s continuing transformation of IMG that began when he took the helm of the company in 2006. His move into the College Sports industry, with acquisitions in 2007 and 2008, culminated with last month’s acquisition of ISP Sports, making IMG the largest and dominant player in college athletics.  Earlier this year, IMG announced a joint venture with Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries in India.  IMG Reliance is working to unlock India’s sporting potential and to create, own and operate major sports and entertainment assets in that country.  IMG also has a 20-year exclusive joint venture in place with CCTV, the national television network in China.