By Jeremy C. Owens
Elon Musk has a new plan for Twitter Inc. after giving up a legal battle and agreeing to pay $44 billion for the company Tuesday.
That tweet was Musk’s first public statement Tuesday about the decision, which was revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier in the day. While the Tesla Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.18% chief executive has tossed off myriad ideas for improving Twitter , this was his first mention of creating a new app that includes Twitter, though he has cryptically tweeted a hint before about plans for a social-media service under that name.
In a discussion with Twitter employees earlier in the acquisition process, Musk did bring up a desire to build a “super app,” a concept that has become ubiquitous in China, with offerings like WeChat, but has yet to find an equivalent in the U.S.
While the mention of turning “X” into its own app is new, Musk has a history with the letter well before Tesla released the Model X. One of Musk’s first big wins as an entrepreneur was when his online bank, X.com, merged with another company to create PayPal Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208054269/composite PYPL -2.87% in 2000.
When eBay Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204653455/composite EBAY -1.21% bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002, Musk received millions in proceeds, which he funneled toward Tesla and his rocket startup, SpaceX. But he returned to X.com in 2017, reacquiring the domain — one of only three single-letter domains available — for an undisclosed fee.
Musk hasn’t done much with X.com — the website currently exists with just a single X on a white background. But when he agreed in May to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, he established a holding company that would swallow Twitter once the acquisition completed, and he named it X Holdings.
After agreeing to acquire Twitter, Musk attempted to call off the purchase, leading to a legal fight with Twitter. Just two weeks before a trial was set to begin in Delaware Chancery Court, Musk sent a letter to Twitter executives agreeing to go through with the transaction if they dropped the legal proceedings.
While he has not previously provided his plans for an X app, in a follow-up tweet Tuesday, Musk suggested those plans have been sped up by the acquisition of Twitter.
While his plans may be secret for now, Musk has at least dropped one hint about them: X marks the spot.