US: Elon Musk says he was joking about buying Manchester United

The tweet turnaround comes as Musk seeks to exit a $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter, which has taken him to court



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

By Reuters

Published: Wed 17 Aug 2022, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Wed 17 Aug 2022, 10:04 AM

On Wednesday, Elon Musk, the world's richest person, tweeted that he was joking when he said that he was going to buy English soccer club Manchester United Plc.

"No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I'm not buying any sports teams," Musk said, when asked by a user if he was serious about buying the club.

Photo: @elonmusk/Twitter
Photo: @elonmusk/Twitter

About four hours earlier, Musk had tweeted: "I'm buying Manchester United ur welcome," without offering any details. Some Manchester United fans, disgruntled by their club's declining fortunes of late, had previously urged Musk on Twitter to consider buying the club.

The tweet turnaround comes as Musk seeks to exit a $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter, only four months after announcing on the platform that he would buy the social media company, which has taken him to court.

Musk has a history of being unconventional and posting irreverent tweets, making it difficult sometimes to tell when he is joking.

"Next I'm buying Coca-Cola to put the cocaine back in," he tweeted on April 27, two days after Twitter's board accepted his unsolicited offer to buy the company.

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 did not move ahead with an offer. Musk and Tesla each paid $20 million civil fines — and Musk had stepped down as Tesla's chairman — to resolve US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims that Musk had 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 of which is a tunnel maker firm, called the Boring Company.

Manchester United is one of the most famous names in world soccer, but is currently in crisis on the field, amidst angry calls from fans for the club's current owners — the American Glazer family — to pull out.

The northern England-based team has more than 32 million followers on its main Twitter account, and Musk's first tweet about the club had garnered nearly 400,000 'likes' on the platform within four hours.

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