Parler, a platform that grew out of the Trump-era social media backlash, has been acquired by a new company that plans to shut it down temporarily. Digital media conglomerate Starboard, which recently changed its name from Olympic Media, announced Friday that it has acquired Parler and plans to temporarily close it to launch a revamped version of the social network.
The financial terms of the deal were not closed. Starboard expects the acquisition to be positively accretive by the end of Q2 2023.
“Parler’s large user base and additional strategic resources provide Starboard with a tremendous opportunity to aggressively build our media and publishing businesses,” said Ryan Coyne, CEO of Starboard, 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-minded platforms American Wire and BizPac Review. Coyne says the Arlington, Virginia-based company believes advancements in AI and the addition of new features will allow Parler to “start serving unsupported online communities.”
The announcement comes months after a takeover deal between Parler and Kanye West, known as Ye, fell through. Parler’s owner and Ye had “mutually” parted without closing the deal, the social network had said at the time.
Parler gained popularity in 2021 around the time of the January 6 riot, after social media companies such as 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 number 1 on the App Store days after the uprising, but was removed from Google Play on January 8, 2021. Soon after, Amazon and Apple also removed Parler from their platforms. Parler was later reinstated to the Apple and Google app stores after making changes to moderation practices.
Last September, Parler revealed it had restructured into Parliament Technologies and acquired a cloud company called Dynascale to expand its vision beyond offering a social media app to provide infrastructure for companies at risk of being booted by mainstream providers.
Parler is one of several 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 takeover, 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.