Here at Macworld we’ve covered dozens of Apple acquisitions, both real and imagined, over the years. But the latest company Apple is reportedly interested in buying is an odd one: soccer club Manchester United.
The Daily Star reported on Thursday that “Apple bosses have expressed interest in discussing a possible deal” with current owners Joel and Avram Glazer. The asking price was initially set at £8.25bn (roughly $10bn), but Apple is understood to plan to spend something closer to £5.8bn.
These are huge sums in the world of sport and would surpass the record price of £4.25bn set by Chelsea FC in May. It would also be a nice win for the Glazers, who bought Man Utd for less than £800m in 2005. But it’s comparatively little change for Apple, which made its money from its bid only on declining iPad revenue last year. last trimester.
We’ll go on the record before proceeding and say that this almost certainly won’t happen. Apple has no experience running a sports team, and despite our flippant comment about iPad revenue, this would be a colossal gamble. It’s wise to be skeptical of any Apple takeover rumors, but even more so of those involving Manchester United: as we’ve seen with Elon Musk and Conor McGregor, who have both claimed to be interested in buying the club, it’s an easy target. for ad hunters. This story, spanning two of the world’s biggest brands, is the perfect storm for rumormongers: if it wasn’t true, someone would make it up.
That being said, there is a certain appeal to the idea. “Ted Lasso,” the Apple TV+ comedy about a clueless but lovable American coach who takes charge of a venerable British soccer team, is one of the service’s biggest hits of the past two years, and the company will soon begin streaming MLS soccer matches in the US. Owning a Premiership club would give him leverage to expand coverage abroad. And it would certainly be a great advertising tool to have Man Utd kits emblazoned with the Apple logo. (Though one potential problem is that Qualcomm entered into a “multi-year global strategic collaboration” with the soccer club in August, which could lead to some fun meetings.)
But as interesting as the story is, it’s unlikely to be true. As they say in football, this is a knockout to throw off the leg. Missing and missing. New balls please.