Elon Musk, head of Tesla and SpaceX and the world’s wealthiest person, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he is buying Manchester United Plc, but did not offer any more details.
“I’m buying Manchester United ur (sic) welcome,” the billionaire tweeted.
Hours later, he clarified that he was “not buying any sports teams” and that his earlier tweet was part of a “long-running joke on Twitter.”
The football club, which has been a global brand, is controlled by the American Glazer family.
The Glazer family did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to a Reuters news agency report.
Musk vs. Twitter
Musk has a history of saying things on Twitter that stir controversy or are plain irreverent. In April, the entrepreneur said he was buying Coca-Cola “to put the cocaine back in.”
That was after he offered to buy Twitter in a $44 billion (€43.24 billion) deal, for $54.20 per share. He later decided to exit the deal, with the social media giant taking him to court over it.
Recently, Musk sold nearly $7 billion worth of shares in Tesla ahead of his court battle with Twitter.
“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close and some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” he later tweeted.
Musk’s tweets about potential acquisitions have landed him in hot water with US regulators in the past.
In 2018, he tweeted that there was “funding secured” for a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private, but he did not move ahead with an offer. Musk and Tesla each paid $20 million civil fines — and Musk stepped down as Tesla’s chairman — to resolve US Securities and Exchange Commission claims that he defrauded investors.
United’s slump in fortunes
Manchester United is one of the world’s most well-recognized football clubs with a global fan base. The club has a market capitalization of $2.08 billion.
It was the first team to win the Premier League, as well as holding the record for the most Premier League titles with 13 titles. In 1968, it became the first English team to win the European Cup.
There has been discontent among United fans with some demanding a change in ownership after some recent poor performances by the team. The team is currently at the bottom of the league table after two games played this season.
On Saturday, some of the banners held up by United supporters called for the departure of the Glazer family. “Time 2 Go. Glazers Out” said one.
Last season, a Premier League game against Liverpool at Old Trafford had to be postponed after supporters broke stormed the pitch while thousands of others blocked access into the venue. They were demanding the club owners to sell the club.
ss/kb (Reuters, AFP)
This article has been updated to reflect an additional tweet from Musk clarifying that he is not buying Manchester United.
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