Batista was the second of seven children of businessman Eliezer Batista, who was Minister of Mines and Energy in the João Goulart and Fernando Collor administrations and a former President of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (now known simply as Vale), then wholly a state enterprise, between 1961–1964 and 1979–1986. His mother, Jutta Fuhrken, was born in Germany and, from her, Batista says he learned self-esteem and discipline, attributes he considers crucial to his formation as an Entrepreneur. After spending his childhood in Brazil, Batista and his family moved to Europe when he was a teenager, due to his father's occupation. They lived in Geneva, Düsseldorf and Brussels.
In 1974, he began to study metallurgical engineering at the University of Aachen in Germany. When he was 18 years old, his parents returned to Brazil. Batista remained abroad and began selling insurance policies door-to-door to make his living. In interviews, he often mentions that the "stress" and the lessons learned from this experience were essential for his education.
Batista married the model Luma de Oliveira in 1991, and divorced her in 2004. They had two boys, Olin and Thor. Batista enjoys running, swimming and practices marine Sports. In the 90s, he was the Brazilian, U.S. and World Champion in the Super Offshore Powerboat class. In 2006, he covered the 220 nautical miles between Santos and Rio de Janeiro in 3h01m47s and beat the record for the course in his boat, the Spirit of Brazil. Batista maintains an active digital life, with a personal site with articles, videos and news about his companies. The digital channel that Batista has chosen as his primary means of personal communication is Twitter. His profile on Twitter, @eikebatista, has over 1,100,000 followers, who respond to his messages and interact with him. In 2011, Batista released the book “The Heart of the Matter” (O X da Questão) which recounts his trajectory in the Business world and offers tips on entrepreneurialism.
The EBX Group is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and operates in nine Brazilian states. It has offices in New York City (USA), Colombia and Chile. In addition to the infrastructure and natural resources sectors, Batista's EBX Group also invests in real estate (REX), entertainment (IMX), Technology (SIX) and catering (NRX). In Rio de Janeiro, EBX is developing Sports, hospitality, gastronomy, health and beauty initiatives. Since the early 2000s however, Batista has focused primarily on natural resources, Energy and infrastructure.
From 2004 to 2010 Batista created and put into operation five companies: MMX (mining), MPX (energy), OGX (petroleum), LLX (logistics) and OSX (offshore industry). As of 2013, due to falling commodity prices, none of his enterprises were profitable despite substantial infusions of cash by the Brazilian government, and Batista was engaged in desperate efforts to shed assets and meet the demands of creditors.
The top-ranked Brazilian on the Forbes magazine list in March 2008 was Antônio Ermírio de Moraes, in 77th place with a family estate of US$10 billion. Another 17 Brazilians were on the list, including Batista (who in 2008 said his goal was to become the richest man in the world in five years). In 2008 Batista's fortune was estimated at US$6.6 billion and he was ranked at the 142nd place on the list of the richest men in the world. By 2009, he had moved up to the 61st position and was considered the richest man in Brazil.
The EBX Group produces iron ore in Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul and has put the first commercial-scale solar power plant into operation. in Brazil. It invested an estimated US$15.5 billion between 2011 and 2012 in Brazil and is responsible for projects of significant scale, such as the LLX Açu Superport in São João da Barra, Rio de Janeiro, the MMX Sudeste Superport in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, and the MPX thermal power plants in Itaqui, Maranhão and Pecém, Ceará. These important Energy and infrastructure projects are being executed in parallel to OGX's exploratory campaigns in Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, São Paulo and Parnaíba, Maranhão basins, which have resulted in oil and gas discoveries. There were 20,000 people working in the construction and operation of the group's projects in 2011.
In April 2012 the EBX Group contracted International Business Machines Corp. to outsource EBX's IT operations.
On 26 July 2013, Bloomberg News reported his losses as "historic". The losses can be attributed largely to the downturn in the precious metals mining industry as well as a catastrophic collapse of Batista's OGX, which it had claimed would pump 750,000 barrels of oil a day—only to find itself pumping 15,000. Other economic issues and management decisions factored in as well. Bloomberg News has called this fall to a "Perfect Storm".
In January 2017, Brazilian authorities issued a detention order for Batista and eight other individuals as part of Operation Car Wash (Portuguese: Operação Lava Jato), a high-profile $100 million money laundering investigation. Batista returned from New York and was detained in the maximum security prison in Bangu. On April 28, 2017 Supreme Court judge Gilmar Mendes ordered Batista's release pending trial. Batista had been charged with making $16.5 million in bribes to the former governor of Rio de Janeiro state.