The richest man on earth has once again created chaos and commotion on the internet with his tweets.
“Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” Musk told his 103 million followers on Twitter, without offering any details.
Hours later — and after several news articles were published about his bold claim — Musk clarified that it was all a joke.
“No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” he said after a user asked him if he was serious about the purchase.
Asked about Musk’s tweet, a Manchester United (MANU) spokesperson told CNN Business that “we do not comment on rumors and speculation.”
Shares of Manchester United, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, initially soared after hours Tuesday following the tweet but pulled back from their gains. The stock was still up about 3% in early trading Wednesday though.
According to Forbes, Manchester United is worth $4.6 billion. Controlled by the Glazer family, which also own NFL franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Manchester United is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world but it hasn’t won the English Premier League title since 2013.
In his 13 years on Twitter, the platform has become an important part of Musk’s personal brand. It’s a place where he communicates about his business ventures, lashes out at people he views as detractors, makes market-moving commentary about cryptocurrencies and shares the occasional meme.
He even quipped in a 2019 tweet: “Some people use their hair to express themselves, I use Twitter.”
However, Musk’s tweets about Tesla have landed him in hot water, multiple times, with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. His feud with the SEC dates back to his now-infamous 2018 tweet stating, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
The nine-word tweet sent Tesla stock surging at the time, but the SEC then accused him of misleading investors. Musk and regulators eventually reached a deal that included, among other provisions, a requirement that Musk gain pre-approval from other Tesla executives prior to tweeting about the company.
The billionaire’s tweets regarding Manchester United come at a time when he is trying to terminate his $44 billion acquisition of the social platform. Twitter has taken him to court over his attempt to exit the deal.
-— Robert Mclean contributed to this story.