Musk’s tweet about buying Manchester United is no joke for fed up fans

Aug 17 (Reuters) – Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, briefly lifted the gloom over Manchester United (MANU.N) actions and fans on Wednesday saying he was buying the English football club – only to say later that it was all part of a “long running joke”.

One of the most successful football clubs in the world, the ‘Red Devils’ languish at the bottom of the English Premier League and, having seen eight managers come and go in less than 10 years, some fans and investors are wondering if it’s time for her owners, the American Glazer family, to spare.

Enter Tesla’s Billionaire CEO (TSLA.O).

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“To be clear, I support the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party! Also I buy Manchester United ur (sic) welcome – Elon Musk,” the 51-year-old tweeted at his 103 million of followers.

Some club fans had previously urged Musk on Twitter to consider buying the club, complaining about what they see as underinvestment by the Glazers. United have not won the Premier League title since the glory days of manager Alex Ferguson, winning the last of their record 20 victories in 2013.

Within six hours of his tweet, Musk’s post had garnered more than 500,000 likes on the club’s main Twitter account – although some users didn’t take it too seriously, comparing his tweet to his tough race to buy Twitter. (TWTR.N).

But then came the clarification.

“No, that’s a longtime joke on Twitter. I don’t buy any sports teams,” Musk said, when asked by a user if he was serious about buying United.

“Although, if it was any team it would be Man U,” he added. “It was my favorite team (sic) when I was a kid.”

The Florida-based Glazer family did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Manchester United (MANU.N) declined to comment.

United fans were unimpressed.

“This is just a tweet from someone who doesn’t always think twice before writing something (sic),” Manchester United Fanatics Club Hungary said.

Kolkata Fans Club added, “It has once again reinstated the fact that Elon and his tweets are just gimmicks. Although it would have been great if he really invested 1/10th of what he had paid for Twitter to own this legendary club…the whole fan base is fed up with the Glazers.”

Even so, Musk’s thoughts ignited trading in the company’s U.S.-listed shares before the New York market opened.

Shares of the club briefly jumped as much as 17% in early pre-market trading in the United States before settling around $13.20, about 3% above Tuesday’s close.


The tweets are far from the first to spark controversy at Musk.

The entrepreneur is currently seeking to exit a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter just four months after announcing on the platform that he would buy the social media company, which has resulted in him being sued.

“I think Elon Musk needs to get the headache out of Twitter first before his jokes are taken seriously by the market again,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

“For ManU, that would mean unnecessary volatility and stress in the share price. Elon Musk and his expertise don’t necessarily add value to Manchester U unless he aims to replace players with robots.”

Musk has a habit of being unconventional and posting irreverent posts, which sometimes makes it hard to tell when he’s joking.

“Then I’m buying Coca-Cola to put cocaine back in,” he tweeted on April 27, two days after Twitter’s board accepted his unsolicited offer to buy the company. society.

Referring to that post, he tweeted on Wednesday, “And I don’t buy Coca-Cola to hand over cocaine, despite the extreme popularity of such a move.”

Musk’s tweets about potential acquisitions have also gotten him in hot water with US regulators in the past.

In 2018, he tweeted that there was “secured funding” for a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private, but didn’t move forward with an offer. Musk and Tesla each paid civil fines of $20 million – and Musk resigned as Tesla chairman – to resolve US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allegations that he defrauded companies. investors.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk’s latest tweets, when messages were left outside of normal business hours.

Musk’s ambitions range from colonizing Mars to creating a new sustainable energy economy, and in the process he’s built the world’s most valuable auto company in Tesla, rocket company SpaceX and a slew of small businesses. businesses. One is a tunnel maker called the Boring Company.


Fan clamor for a change of ownership at three-time European Cup winners United, world football’s most prestigious club competition, has intensified.

British newspaper The Daily Mirror reported last year that the Glazers, who acquired the club in 2005 for 790 million pounds ($957 million), were ready to sell, but only if offered more than 4 billion of books.

The Glazers, however, gave no indication of an interest in selling the club.

They rarely make public statements about their ownership of the club, but after heavy criticism for their involvement in a failed European Super League plan, Joel Glazer has penned an open letter to the club’s fans.

“I want to assure you that my family and I care deeply about Manchester United and feel a deep sense of responsibility to protect and build on its long-term strength, while respecting its values ​​and traditions,” he said. .

In its annual rankings this year, Forbes ranked United, with its huge global fan base, the third most valuable football club in the world, worth $4.6 billion, behind only Spanish giants Real. Madrid and Barcelona.

But the club’s shares have fallen by a quarter in the past 12 months, valuing it at just over $2 billion. The stock has risen over the past month, gaining 16% to close at $12.78 on Tuesday.

Musk and his attorney did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on his original Twitter post.

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Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore, Danilo Masoni in Milan and Joice Alves in London; Written by Peter Henderson, Michael Perry and Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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