AEG, IMX and Odebrecht take control of Maracana

A consortium involving AEG, IMG venture IMX, and Odebrecht SA is to operate the Maracana in Brazil for the next 35 years.

AEG, IMX and Odebrecht take control of Maracana

A consortium involving AEG, IMG venture IMX, and Odebrecht SA is to operate the Maracana in Brazil for the next 35 years.

The three parties have come together to form Consorcio Maracana SA, and have reached an agreement with state authorities to take the 2014 Fifa World Cup final venue into private operation. IMX, which is a joint venture between IMG and Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista's EBX Group, will take a five per cent stake in Consorciao Maracana, as will AEG. Odebrecht, Brazil's largest construction company, will have a 90 per cent share.

According to Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico, the consortium will be paying R$5.5 million (US$2.7 million) a year to the state authorities for the right to run the stadium - R$192.5 million over the course of the deal.

The Maracana, which will also stage fixtures in this year's Fifa Confederations Cup as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, hosted its first test event last week after a three-year, US$500 million renovation project. According to Bloomberg, campaigners picketed the event to protest the privatisation of the 63-year-old stadium.

The deal is subject to approval by the Rio state government.

UPDATE: Rio's Judge Gisela Faria has suspended the completion of the deal, citing irregularities in the bidding process after an appeal by the Rio Prosecutor's Office. "Even before the bids were put forward, the principle of fairness among the competitors had been disregarded," she said in her ruling.

The legality of the deal will need to be firmly established before it can be ratified. Speaking a day before Judge Faria's intervention, Rio state governor Sergio Cabral described the agreement as "perfectly legal".