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SportsWatch: Manchester United shares gain after Elon Musk jokingly suggests purchase and Glazers were reported to open up to minority stake sale

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

In a tweet late Tuesday, the Tesla Inc.

chief executive said: “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” referring to the iconic English soccer club, which may be up for sale.

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.

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

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.

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.
(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

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