If Elon Musk can boost the value of dogecoin, why not Manchester United?
In a tweet late Tuesday, the Tesla Inc.
chief executive said: “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” referring to the iconic English soccer club, which may be up for sale.
Hours later, he sought to clear up the matter, tweeting to a follower that he was “not buying any sports teams.” Musk added that if he were buying a team, it would be Man U, as it was his favorite club as a child.
But the Musk news highlighted the potential for a takeover, which was further stoked when the controlling Glazer family was reported by Bloomberg News to be interested in taking on minority investment.
Manchester United shares
closed nearly 7% higher on Wednesday before inching lower in Thursday premarket trades.
“Fans of Man Utd will be excited to learn that a minority stake sale is looming as this opens a door to a new insider in the club who could look to buy larger stakes in due course. Indeed, this was the case at Arsenal with Stan Kroenke entering the club with a minority stake before buying up larger pieces in the years later,” said Walid Koudmani, chief market analyst at XTB, a brokerage.
For Musk, the question is whether he has broken Securities and Exchange Commission rules once again. An SEC representative declined to comment in a Wednesday-morning email.
Musk is no stranger to tweets coming back to bite him. His 2018 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 a share — a cannabis reference — became the subject of regulatory action by the SEC, ultimately resulting in $20 million fines against Musk and Tesla.
Musk has sparred with the SEC on a number of further occasions over the years. He’s embroiled in a bitter legal battle as he’s trying to pull out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc.
(He again embedded a “420” in his financial terms.)
If the Tesla boss had been serious about joining the rarefied ranks of Premier League owners, it would have marked a seismic deal for one of the most valuable sports brands on the planet.
Manchester United’s current owners, the Florida-based Glazer family, have been under pressure to sell the club after years of underperformance, mismanagement and a revolt by some fans. The team is currently in last place in the Premier League, after a second straight loss to start the season, an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Brentford on Saturday.
Last week, reports indicated British businessman Michael Knighton planned a formal bid to buy the team. The club has an estimated value of $4.6 billion, according to Forbes.
That price tag would be doable for Musk, who is the world’s wealthiest individual, with a fortune estimated around $267 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Steve Goldstein contributed to this report.