Kanye West agrees to acquire social media app Parler

Oct 17 (Reuters) – U.S. rapper Kanye West has agreed in principle to acquire Parler, a social media platform popular among U.S. conservatives, parent company Parlement Technologies said on Monday.

Nashville-based Parler, which has raised about $56 million to date, said it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. It doesn’t give a transaction value.

Launched in 2018, Parler has been reinstated in Google and Apple’s app stores after being removed following the January 2021 U.S. Capitol riots. Parler is one of several social media platforms, including Gettr, Gab and Truth Social, that have positioned themselves as a free speech alternative to Twitter Inc (TWTR.N).

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Last month, Parler created a new parent company, Parliament Technologies Inc, as part of an overhaul.

Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer told Reuters in an interview on Monday that the deal talks with Ye started recently after Paris Fashion Week.

October in Paris. 3. Ye, also a fashion designer, wears a T-shirt that says “White Lives Matter”. Four days later, he posted what several Jewish groups called anti-Semitism on Instagram. Meta Platforms (META.O), which owns Instagram and Facebook, locked Ye out of his Instagram account.

Ye then moved to Twitter, where it was posted in October. 8 for the first time in two years; Twitter quickly locked his account.

CEO Farmer said the deal with Parler was quick and Parlement “had an opportunity”.

“His motivation was discussions about Instagram blocking him.” Farmer declined to comment on whether the deal included a breakup fee if either side terminated the deal.

Ye terminated a partnership with apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N) in September, while German sporting goods maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) terminated a partnership with apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N) in October. Cooperation. 6 said it was reviewing a business partnership with the rapper.

Farmer said on Monday he was not concerned about Paller’s advertising prospects under Ye.

“I think it’s a warning to companies that want to de-platform people. More and more advertisers want to advertise in this space,” Farmer said.

Ye appeared to have joined Parler on Monday and had about 91 followers at the time of the announcement. He now has 3,900.

“In a world where conservative views are considered controversial, we must ensure that we have the right to express ourselves freely,” he said in a statement.

Farmer said Parler has 16.5 million registered users. Research firm Apptopia estimates the platform has been installed 11.7 million times since its launch, with an estimated 40,000 daily active users.

Forbes estimates Ye’s net worth at $2 billion.

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Reporting by Tiyashi Datta and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Dhanya Ann Thoppil

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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