As part of a seemingly off-the-cuff tweet thread Tuesday night, Tesla founder and erstwhile Twitter suitor Elon Musk set off alarm bells in the footie world, writing, “I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” per Deadline.
While the beleaguered club sits at the bottom of the Premier League table following a humiliating 4-0 loss at Brentford on Saturday, and as fans would like to see current owners, the Florida-based Glazer family, exit the stadium, there was mixed immediate response. But Musk quickly clarified that he was kidding. “This is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” he wrote.
Still, he added, “If it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid.”
The Man U official news and fan community tweeted back, “This is a legally binding intent to purchase, it’s a new law in the inflation reduction act.”
Per The Guardian, buying United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, would have cost Musk at least £2 billion ($2.4 billion), according to its current stock market valuation.
Musk has been in the headlines recently after offering to buy Twitter in April for $44B. But the market dipped along with Twitter stock, and he appeared to become concerned about the number of fake, or BOT, accounts on the platform, engaging in a tit-for-tat with CEO Parag Agrawal over Twitter’s disclosures or lack thereof. Early in July, Musk tore up the deal. Twitter sued him and a speedy trial in Delaware Chancery Court is set for Oct. 17.
Before it got to this point, Musk had looked to raise cash to finance the deal by unloading $8.5B worth of shares of Tesla. That created an overhang on the stock and serious griping by other Tesla stockholders. Then earlier this month, he sold $6.9B worth of Tesla shares to help finance an acquisition of Twitter should he lose the court battle.
Musk also recently wrote a column in the official publication of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the agency that oversees data security for companies such as Alibaba and Tencent, and works with other government entities to censor online content, saying that his “greatest hope” is for humans to “create a self-sustaining city on Mars.”