Manchester United shares on rise even as Musk says he was joking about purchase

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If Elon Musk can boost the value of dogecoin, why not Manchester United?

In a tweet late Tuesday, the Tesla Inc. TSLA, -0.84% chief executive said: “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” referring to the iconic English soccer club, which may be up for sale.

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Hours later, he cleared 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.

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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 a minority investment.

Manchester United MANU, +6.96% shares surged as much as 8%.

“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 broke Securities and Exchange Commission rules once again. An SEC spokesperson 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 each 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. TWTR, -0.92%. (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

This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.

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