Parler, a platform that emerged out of the social media backlash of the Trump era, has been acquired by a new company that plans to temporarily shut it down. Digital media conglomerate Starboard, which recently changed its name from Olympic Media, announced on Friday that it has acquired Parler and plans to temporarily shut it down to launch a revamped version of the social network.
The financial terms of the deal were not closed. Starboard anticipates that the acquisition will be accretive by the end of the second quarter of 2023.
“Parler’s large user base and additional strategic assets represent an enormous opportunity for Starboard to continue to build aggressively in our media and publishing business,” said Starboard CEO Ryan Coyne in a press release. “The team at Parler has built an exceptional audience and we look forward to integrating that audience across all of our existing platforms.”
Founded in 2018, Starboard owns conservative-leaning platforms American Wire and BizPac Review. Coyne says the Arlington, Virginia-based company believes advancements in AI and the additions of new features will allow Parler to “begin servicing unsupported online communities.”
The announcement comes months after an acquisition agreement between Parler and Kanye West, who know goes by Ye, fell through. Parler’s owner and Ye had “mutually” parted ways without closing the deal, the social network had said at the time.
Parler rose to popularity in 2021 around the time of the January 6 insurrection, after social media companies like Twitter and Facebook banned former President Donald Trump from their platforms. Many of his supporters flocked to Parler, which had less stringent community guidelines.
The social network rose to No. 1 on the App Store days after the insurrection, but had been removed from Google Play on January 8, 2021. Amazon and Apple soon removed Parler from their platforms shortly after as well. Parler was later reinstated on Apple and Google’s app stores after making changes to its moderation practices.
Last September, Parler revealed that it had restructured into Parlement Technologies and acquired a cloud company called Dynascale in order to expand its vision beyond offering a social media app to provide infrastructure for businesses that run the risk of getting the boot from mainstream providers.
Parler is one of many platforms, including Gettr and Truth Social, that have cemented themselves as free-speech alternatives to popular social media networks. Another competitor to Parler could be Twitter, which was acquired by Elon Musk last year. Since the acquisition, the social media network has become more lax in its policies, and has also reinstated Trump, though the former president has yet to tweet from the account.