Kanye West agrees to buy social media app Parler
Parent company Parlement Technologies announced on Monday that American musician Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, has reached a preliminary agreement to purchase Parler, the social networking site favoured by American conservatives.
The purchase is anticipated to finalize in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Nashville-based Parler, which has raised approximately $56 million to date. It provided no deal value.
The 2018-released app Parler, was withdrawn from the Google Play and Apple Inc. shops after the U.S. January 2021 riots at the Capitol. Gettr, Gab, and Truth Social are a few other social media sites that promote themselves as free-speech rivals to Twitter Inc.
Last month, Parler created a new parent company, Parlement Technologies Inc, as part of an overhaul.
In an interview with Reuters Monday, Parlement Technologies Chief Executive Officer George Farmer said the deal talks with Ye began recently, after Paris Fashion Week.
In Paris on Oct. 3, Ye, who is also a fashion designer, wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase: “White Lives Matter.” Four days later, he made Instagram posts that several Jewish groups called anti-Semitic. Meta Platforms (META.O), which owns Instagram and Facebook, locked Ye out of his Instagram account for the posts.
Ye then moved to Twitter, posting on Oct. 8 for the first time in two years; Twitter soon locked his account.
CEO Farmer said that the Parler deal came together quickly, and Parlement was “presented with an opportunity.”
“The motivating factor with him was the discussion about Instagram blocking him.” Farmer declined to comment on whether the deal includes a break-up fee if either party terminates it.
Ye in September terminated his partnership with apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N), while German sporting goods maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) on Oct. 6 said it is reviewing its business partnership with the rapper.
Farmer said Monday he is not concerned about Parler’s advertising prospects under Ye.
“I see this as a warning shot across the bow for companies that want to de-platform people,” Farmer said. “There are increasingly advertisers who want to advertise to this space.”
Ye seemed 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 opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to express ourselves freely,” he said.
Farmer says Parler has 16.5 million registered users. Research firm Apptopia estimates the platform has been installed 11.7 million times since launch, with an estimated 40,000 daily active users.
Forbes estimates Ye to have a net worth of $2 billion.