Billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive of electric carmaker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, tweeted on Tuesday that he would buy Manchester United soccer club, before posting later that he meant it as a joke.
Musk has a history of being unconventional, posting irreverent tweets. It is often unclear if he is serious about his tweets.
Below are other tweets from Musk, who has more than 103 million followers, that have taken investors, Twitter users, the Twitter board and the rest of his audience by surprise.
May 13, 2022: “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts represent less than 5% of users.” Twitter had agreed with Musk to acquire the social media company for $43 billion, after initial hiccups, and its shares fell sharply after Musk’s tweet.
The billionaire later backed out of the deal saying Twitter withheld information about these accounts, and the two sides are preparing for a trial scheduled to begin Oct. 17 in Delaware.
April 27, 2022: “Then I’m going to buy Coca-Cola to put the cocaine back.” Musk’s tweet, apparently a joke, came days after he agreed to a deal with Twitter.
April 27, 2022: “Listen I can’t do miracles ok,” Musk tweeted, with an image saying he would buy McDonald’s to fix all the ice cream machines.
August 9, 2022: “X.com”. Musk was responding to a Twitter user who asked if he would create his own social media platform if the Twitter deal didn’t close.
August 7, 2018: “I’m considering taking Tesla private at $420. Financing secured.” Musk was nowhere close to taking Tesla private and hadn’t secured funding, and the number 420 is closely associated with marijuana use. Tesla shares surged, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Musk, saying he had misled investors.
April 1, 2018: “Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a massive Easter egg sale, we are sad to report that Tesla has filed for complete and total bankruptcy,” Musk said in an April Fools’ Day tweet. Tesla shares fell 5.1% the next day.
January 27, 2018: “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower. It works against hordes of the undead or your money back!” Musk’s Boring Co sold flamethrowers and hats to raise money for its Hyperloop transportation project.
July 25, 2017: “I have spoken with Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.” Musk was taking aim at Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc, who downplayed Musk’s warnings about the danger of artificial intelligence.
March 12, 2015: “The rumor that I am building a spaceship to return to my home planet Mars is totally false.” Musk has said that he wanted his company SpaceX to develop a rocket capable of making an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a manned flight two years later.
January 3, 2019: “No matches,” Musk tweeted with an image of Neil Armstrong and an alien. “Neil Armstrong was the first person to land on the moon. ‘Neil A.’ Upside down is Alien,'” the caption on the image read.
October 19, 2018: “It had to be made ur (sic) welcome.” Musk’s tweet had an image of a parody article saying that he bought the game ‘Fortnite’ and removed it to save “children of eternal virginity”. The tweet exceeded one million likes.
July 5, 2020: “Limited Edition Shorts Now Available at http://Tesla.com/shortshorts.” The product and tweet were an apparent dig at those who were shorting Tesla stock. The ‘Short Shorts’, which featured gold trim and ‘S3XY’ in gold on the back, were priced at $69,420 each.
July 4, 2020: “You have all my support!” Musk was responding to rapper Kanye West’s post announcing that he was running for President of the United States. West, who goes by the legal name ‘Ye’, later declined his offer.
May 1, 2020: “Tesla stock price is too high in my opinion (sic).” Tesla shares fell 9% after this tweet and wiped about $13 billion from Tesla’s market value at the time.
(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)