Aug 17 (Reuters) – Having seen eight coaches come and go in lower than 10 years, Manchester United fans know their false dawns. Wednesday shed a unique gentle on strife on the large soccer membership: Elon Musk stated he was buying it – after which stated it was all a joke.
Musk, the world’s richest individual, stated early on Wednesday that he hadn’t been severe when he tweeted hours beforehand that he was going to purchase Manchester United Plc (MANU.N), now languishing on the foot of the English Premier League as fed-up fans urge present house owners, the American Glazer household to promote up.
“No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” Musk posted when requested by a person if he was severe about buying the membership when he had posted, “I’m buying Manchester United ur (sic) welcome.”
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“Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U,” he added, rubbing salt into the wound for some: “They were my fav (sic) team as a kid.”
Some Manchester United fans had beforehand urged Musk on Twitter to contemplate buying the membership, complaining at what they see as under-investment at one of many world’s greatest soccer golf equipment. United have not gained the English league title because the days of legendary supervisor Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the final of their document 20 wins in 2013, regardless of the efforts of a solid of eight everlasting and non permanent coaches since then.
In early reactions earlier than Musk stated he was solely joking, some customers mockingly in contrast his tweet along with his troubled run at buying Twitter (TWTR.N), or appeared to contemplate it no greater than a joke.
The northern England-based workforce has greater than 32 million followers on its principal Twitter account and Musk’s first tweet about the membership garnered greater than 500,000 ‘likes’ on the platform inside six hours.
After Musk stated he was joking, the Manchester United Fanatics Club Hungary stated, “It’s just a tweet from somebody who not always thinking twice before write something (sic).”
The Manchester United Fans Club Kolkata stated: “It 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 paid for Twitter to own this legendary club … the entire fan base is sick and tired of the Glazers.”
In early buying and selling within the membership’s Frankfurt-listed shares, the inventory was up 2.5%.
Musk is now in search of to exit a $44 billion settlement to purchase Twitter solely 4 months after asserting on the platform he would purchase the social media firm, which has taken him to court docket.
He has a historical past of being unconventional and posting irreverent tweets, making it troublesome generally to inform when he’s joking.
“Next I’m buying Coca-Cola to place the cocaine again in,” he tweeted on April 27, two days after Twitter’s board accepted his unsolicited supply to purchase the corporate.
Referring again to that put up, on Wednesday he tweeted: “And I’m not buying Coca-Cola to place the cocaine again in, regardless of the intense recognition of such a transfer.”
Musk’s tweets about potential acquisitions have landed him in sizzling water with U.S. regulators up to now.
In 2018, he tweeted that there was “funding secured” for a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private, but 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 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims that Musk defrauded investors.
The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk’s tweet that he was buying the club outside usual business hours.
Musk’s ambitions range from colonising Mars to creating a new sustainable energy economy, and in the process he has built the most valuable car company in the world, electric vehicle maker Tesla, rocket company SpaceX, and a slew of smaller firms. One is a tunnel maker called the Boring Company.
Clamour from fans and pundits for a change of ownership at the three-time winners of the European Cup, the most prestigious club competition in the global game, has been intensifying.
British newspaper The Daily Mirror reported last year that the Glazers, who have faced widespread fan opposition to their stewardship since acquiring the club in 2005 for 790 million pounds ($957 million), were prepared to sell but only if they were offered in excess of 4 billion pounds.
In its annual rankings this year, Forbes rated Manchester United, with its huge global fanbase, the third most valuable football club in the world, worth $4.6 billion, behind only Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
But shares in the New York-listed football club have slid a quarter in the past 12 months, valuing it at just over $2 billion. The stock has rebounded in the past month, gaining 16% to close at $12.78 on Tuesday.
Musk and his lawyer didn’t instantly reply to Reuters’ request for touch upon his authentic Twitter put up earlier than his message that he had been joking.
The Florida-based Glazer household didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark, and Manchester United itself declined to remark.
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Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Writing by Peter Henderson, Michael Perry and Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Aditya Soni, Neil Fullick and Kenneth Maxwell
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