Conglomerate Starboard buys Parler, to shut down social media app temporarily

Illustration shows Parler logos

(Reuters) -Digital media conglomerate Starboard said on Friday it has bought Parler for an undisclosed sum and will temporarily shut down the social media app popular with U.S. conservatives to give itself time to roll out a revamped version of the platform.

The move comes months after the collapse of a deal that would have seen American rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, buy the platform's parent company Parlement Technologies.

Starboard, formerly Olympic Media, founded in 2018 houses conservative-leaning platforms American Wire and BizPac Review. It plans to service "unsupported online communities" and build a home for them "away from the ad-hoc regulatory hand of platforms that hate them."

The Arlington, Virginia-based conglomerate did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for details on terms of the deal. However, it said the acquisition will be accretive by the end of second quarter 2023.

In September, Parler announced that it has restructured into Parlement Technologies Inc and bought Irvine, California-based private cloud services company Dynascale Inc.

Parler, which was founded five years ago, was reinstated on Google and Apple Inc's app stores after being removed following the U.S. Capitol riots in January 2021.

Parler is one of several social media platforms, from among Gettr, Gab and Truth Social, that have positioned themselves as free-speech alternatives to Twitter Inc prior to its $44 billion acquisition by billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

"No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more," Starboard added.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)