In a bizarro timeline twist, just hours after Elon Musk said on twitter (jokingly as he later admitted) that he was buying Manchester United (which supposedly is a “long-running joke on twitter”) sending MANU stock sharply higher at the open this morning…
No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 17, 2022
… the Glazer family which actually does control Manchester United did not feel like joking and according to Bloomberg “would consider selling a minority stake in Manchester United FC… as pressure mounts on their ownership of the historic English football club.”
Bloomberg’s sources said that the famed soccer club owners have held “some preliminary discussions about the possibility of bringing in a new investor”, which begs the question: did Elon Musk see an RFP, or maybe even a term sheet, from the Glazers, then forget all about the NDA he had signed and in an “altered state of mind” casually “joke” about the upcoming purchase? In any other case we’d say no way, but when it comes to Elon Musk…
In any case, the American Glazer family is not yet ready to cede control of Manchester United, which could be valued at about £5 billion ($6 billion), although it’s market cap is about $2 billion.
Discussions are ongoing and there’s no certainty the Glazers will decide to sell a stake in the club, according to the people. A representative for Manchester United and the Glazer family declined to comment.
Manchester United is one of the best-known and most successful clubs in world football. It has won a record 13 English Premier League titles and has consistently been able to attract the game’s biggest stars, including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It would thus be difficult for Musk to claim in one month that the team is made up of bots (although we are confident he would try if he signed off on a purchase agreement while high).
According to Bloomberg, “the club would likely attract a host of big-name investors, similar to EPL team Chelsea FC, which was recently sold to American billionaire Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital in a £4.25 billion deal.” Of course, there is always Elon Musk, who hopefully will have a cleaner mind when he wakes up today and decides if he was just “joking” when speaking about the MANU termi sheet, or actually telling the truth
The late Malcolm Glazer bought the club in a 2005 leveraged buyout that saddled it with massive debts and the family has faced distrust from hardcore supporters ever since. While this was mitigated in the early years of their ownership as the team continued to win trophies under Sir Alex Ferguson, resentment has grown steadily after the legendary coach’s retirement in 2013. Since then, the club has cycled through managers and big-money players with only a handful of trophies to show for it.
To make matters worse, their dominance of English football has shifted to crosstown rivals Manchester City FC, which has won multiple honors since being taken over by Abu Dhabi investors in 2008.
Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer are executive co-chairmen and directors at Manchester United, while family members Kevin Glazer, Bryan Glazer, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz and Edward Glazer all sit on the board. Whether or not Elon Musk joins them will depend on how high TSLA stock rises: it appears that the higher it goes, the greater Musk’s appetite for ridiculous M&A.
Which, like in the case of Twitter, will be a welcome change for the club’s long-suffering fans: as BBG notes, tensions have boiled over in recent weeks, with Manchester United losing the first two games of the new EPL season, including a 4-0 drubbing by Brentford FC. At the opening home match of the new campaign — a 2-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion FC — a large group of devotees walked toward the stadium with banners that read: “Fight greed. Fight for United. Fight Glazers” and “We want our club back,” the Telegraph newspaper reported.
Supporters are planning to stage fresh protests at the team’s next home match against arch rivals Liverpool FC on Aug. 22. Liverpool won the corresponding fixture 5-0 last season and are the bookmakers’ favorite this time around.
As for MANU stock, please welcome the latest meme stonk…