Although Elon Musk joked about buying the English soccer team Manchester United, the Tesla CEO has a history of influencing stock and crypto market valuations through his tweets.
DAVE BRIGGS: Meme stocks going to meme, and Elon? Well, he's going to Elon. What do Bed, Bath & Beyond and Elon Musk on Twitter have in common? Well, they're both wildly unpredictable, unreliable, and yet irresistible. It's best to ignore them both, but we simply cannot. Much like the box of Krispy Kreme in our office earlier, it's best to get in and get out, limit the damage here.
In case you missed it, the world's richest man and CEO of Tesla tweeted yesterday that he was buying soccer powerhouse Manchester United. The tweet, however, was liked more than 750,000 times, despite the fact he had no intention to do it, and moved the stock as much as 17% in pre-market trading on Wednesday. Elon later replied, this was just a, quote, "long running joke." Despite shares of Man U being down 20% over the past 12 months, they are up today. You see the spike right there, a dramatic one.
There are, in fact, a few long running jokes that Elon told that became reality in recent years. He long joked that he would start his own social media platform, even buy Twitter-- you remember that. When suddenly his 9% stake in Twitter was revealed, the stock surged more than 20% to 50 bucks a share. His antics since plunged it to 32. It's now back and flattened out around 44 as we await those five days in Delaware.
And who could forget the Dogecoin drama? Musk was the loudest and most prominent supporter of the cryptocurrency and frequently drove up that price with his 50 million strong Twitter army, which has now surged to more than 100 million. Then came another ill-timed joke on Saturday Night Live, Elon calling Doge a "hustle," plummeting the price of Dogecoin 40%.
Last, but certainly not least, arguably, Elon's most impactful tweet, Seana, and that's the one that got the attention of the SEC. August 7, 2018, quote, "I'm considering taking Tesla private at--" yes, "--420," a weed reference. "Funding secured." In recent history, only one person has used and abused social media so effectively and, well, pathetically. That is the former president, who remains banned from the platform to this day. It is a strange dichotomy, with one of the most brilliant leaders on our planet, that he both uses it and abuses it so effectively. He knows better, but he can't resist.
SEANA SMITH: He knows better. He just doesn't care. And, like, going back to what you started this whole story with, it's Elon being Elon. So I think when we read these types of headlines now, while it is shocking still on some levels, just the fact that he has the ability to move a stock with just a simple tweet, we're seeing it in Manchester United today, but he doesn't change his ways.
And he has, like you said, attracted regulatory attention in the past. And the fact that Manchester United is a publicly traded company, there is, of course, the risk there that he could potentially attract regulatory attention from this.
Now, we are off the highs of the day in terms of the stock price right now for Manchester United. I don't think he's serious. I mean, he's come out and said it was a joke. I don't know if you can really take Elon at his word, though. So I don't think any of us truly know what he thinks or what he plans to do potentially with Manchester United. You can't take away the power that this man has, at least right now with this huge following and with a simple tweet, what he can do with the markets.
DAVE BRIGGS: Well, it's funny. You say, as we did just there, that he said it was a joke, but oftentimes, as we just laid out, it's more of a trial balloon than actually a joke. It seems like Elon floats these proposals, companies he could buy and/or start, and then it's a trial balloon to see how it gains attention. It gathers steam. And obviously, in the case of Twitter, while it did gather steam, and Dogecoin as well, I do not think in this case, he's serious.
But again, time will tell. We do know this. Reports are today Sir Richard Ratcliffe-- he is a British billionaire, and he is also the CEO of Ineos-- is reportedly interested in buying Manchester United. It is worth north of $4 billion. He is worth north of $21 billion. So where there's smoke, there's probably some fire here.
Look, this team-- and it's a company, really, and it's engaged the entire country-- has been very criticized under the Glazer family, who don't just own it. They control every aspect of it and control the board and control the stock. They have come under harsh criticism, both on the field and off the pitch, I should call it. And so, they've said that a slice of the team is for sale. But as we all know, when you see a number put on the board, it's likely--
SEANA SMITH: It could change.
DAVE BRIGGS: --the whole team can change.
SEANA SMITH: Yeah, it could change real fast.