Aug 17, 2022 - Sports

Elon Musk's Manchester United joke hits the real world

Manchester United Football Club logo seen displayed on a smartphone with Elon Musk's official Twitter profile.

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk joked Tuesday that he plans to buy the English soccer club Manchester United, confusing fans and pushing the team's stock higher.

Why it matters: Musk said his tweet was a nod to a long-running gag about him buying major companies. But not everyone was in on the joke, especially after he agreed to buy Twitter and then attempted to withdraw from the agreement.

Driving the news: Musk tweeted on Wednesday: "I'm buying Manchester United ur welcome."

  • When asked if he was serious, the Tesla CEO replied that it "is a long-running joke on Twitter. I'm not buying any sports teams."
  • He added in a separate tweet: "Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid."

By the numbers: Buying Manchester United would cost around $2 billion based on its stock price, CNBC reports.

  • Its shares spiked by 17% for a spell in pre-market trading after Musk's tweet, per CNBC. They were up 3.68% Wednesday morning after the Tesla CEO said the tweet was a joke.

State of play: Fans of the club flooded social media with thoughts about the potential purchase, calling Musk's tweets "gimmicks."

  • Others condemned Manchester United's current owners, the Glazer family, a long-running target for fans unhappy with the team's performance, Reuters reports.
  • Early in the season, Manchester United sits at the bottom of the Premier League standings after two big losses. It's the first time the team has fallen to that low of a position in 30 years, per Yahoo! Sports.
  • Bloomberg reports the Glazer family would consider selling a minority stake in Manchester United.

The big picture: This isn't Musk's first time joking about buying major companies. In April, he jested that he planned to buy Coca-Cola.

  • Musk is still dealing with the legal aftermath of attempting to terminate his deal to buy Twitter. The social media company is suing him in an attempt to force him to follow through on the acquisition.

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