Billionaire Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man, hired Banco Bradesco BBI SA to sell a stake in his AUX gold business after dropping for now plans for an initial public offering, a person familiar with the matter said.
EBX Group Co., Batista’s Rio de Janeiro-based holding company, decided a stake sale to investors would be more profitable than an IPO because of market conditions, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. An EBX official said the firm hired Bradesco for “a potential financial transaction,” adding in a statement that it wouldn’t rule out an IPO if market conditions allow.
“Sovereign wealth funds are interested in investing in real assets” such us gold, Batista, whose investments range from iron ore to coal, told reporters on Feb. 15. AUX paid C$1.08 billion ($1.08 billion) last year to acquire Ventana Gold Corp.
An official at Bradesco BBI, the investment-banking arm of Osasco-based Banco Bradesco SA (BBDC4), declined to comment and asked not to be identified in keeping with company policy.
Batista, 55, said last year he would list AUX in Bogota, London and Sao Paulo as soon as this month. AUX is worth $5 billion, he said in October, and has 7.2 million ounces of gold reserves after the acquisition of Vancouver-based Ventana in March 2011. AUX’s La Bodega mine, located 400 kilometers (248 miles) northeast of Bogota, also has copper and silver deposits.
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