Aug 17 (Reuters) – Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, on Wednesday brushed off the disappointment over Manchester United (MANU.N) shares and fans tweeted that he was buying the English soccer club – only to say a little later. For it was all part of “a long-running joke”.
One of the world’s most successful football clubs, the “Red Devils” are ranked at the bottom of England’s Premier League and with eight coaches coming and going in less than 10 years, some fans and investors are wondering whether It’s time for the club. To sell to the owners, the American Glazer family.
“To be clear, I support the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party! Plus, I’m buying Manchester United ur(sic) welcome – Elon Musk,” the 51-year-old tweeted. 103 million followers
Some fans of the club have previously urged Musk to consider buying the club on Twitter, complaining that they were seen as under-invested by the Glazers. United won the last of their record 20 English league titles in 2013.
Could Elon Musk Wreck Manchester United Like He’s Wrecked Twitter?
Usually when someone blows off some steam in the evening by announcing that they are going to buy a sports team, they are not actually going to buy said team. They are just furious, because whoever owns the team has mismanaged it in some way, which is very upsetting for the buyer who has almost every case needed to buy the sports franchise.
Lack of financial strength. Similarly, when someone thinks about buying a publicly traded company because it offends them, they are probably not going to buy that company, which costs a lot of money. Various regulatory authorities also may not like the concept of someone with clear market-moving ability issuing a cynical statement that they will buy such a company.
United, like Twitter and Tesla, is a publicly traded entity. As I write this, you can buy a share in the club for a little less than $13. The club has a market capitalization of over $2 billion. Actually buying Manchester United would be a good deal, as sports teams are weird business and the Glaser family, which controls the club, would not sell at a non-premium price.
Forbes gives United a valuation of $4.6 billion, behind only La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona (which, by the way, have issues). Let’s just say Musk got really bored this week and decided to approach United’s board with an offer they can’t refuse. Maybe he writes down $9 billion and slides a piece of paper on the table.
It’s understandable, because it’s a crap number that he would fight tooth and nail to never pay, but big enough that United’s owners would probably take it seriously on grounds of love money.
Tweet was a ‘long-running joke,’ billionaire says.
Elon Musk was joking when he tweeted about buying Manchester United, the billionaire clarified hours later.
On Tuesday night, Musk took to Twitter to share his political leanings – writing that he supports “the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party.”
Then, on an unrelated note, Musk added: “Also, I’m buying Manchester United, you’re welcome.”
The Tesla CEO’s tweet was met with endless reactions from football followers around the world — including outrage, humor and hope from some United fans who want to see an end to the current Glazer family ownership. England’s biggest club are still reeling from their most recent 4-0 defeat at Brentford on Saturday.
In addition to joking about buying a Premier League club, Musk is fighting a court battle with Twitter. Musk offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion earlier this year, but later backed out of the deal – claiming that Twitter was influenced by a large number of “spam bots” and fake accounts that spread across social media. The company had previously disclosed.
In July, Twitter sued Musk. Musk later filed a counterclaim accusing the company of fraud. A trial is expected in October.
Elon Musk Says He Was Joking About Buying Manchester United
Elon Musk joked about buying Manchester United plc on Twitter, giving it 4 1/2 hours before clarifying that he was joking about buying a New York Stock Exchange-listed English football club .
The world’s richest man sent his initial message about the Story Club in response to an earlier post about his political allegiance. When a Tesla Inc. fan asked if Musk was serious, he replied that no, he’s not buying a sports team.
Bloomberg News reported hours after Musk’s post that the Glazer family, which has owned Manchester United since 2005, would consider selling a minority stake, citing people familiar with the matter. Shares of the club rose 7.6% to $13.75 shortly after regular trading began on Wednesday.
Musk has a long track record of tweeting jokes. He has also walked away from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, most infamously claiming in 2018 that he had the funds to take Tesla private. This led to allegations of securities fraud and a settlement agreement that Tesla would appoint an in-house “Twitter sitter” who would pre-approval posts containing material information about the company.