American rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, has agreed in principle to acquire Parler, a social network popular among American conservatives.
Nashville-based Parler, which has raised about $US56 million ($89 million) to date, said on Tuesday (Australian time) that it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.
It did not give value to the transaction.
Parler, which launched in 2018, has been reinstated in Google and Apple Inc’s app stores after being removed following the US Capitol riots in January 2021.
It is one of several social media platforms, including Gettr, Gab and Truth Social, that are positioning themselves as free speech alternatives to Twitter.
Last month, Parler created a new parent company, Parlement Technologies, as part of an overhaul.
Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer told Reuters that negotiations for a deal with Ye began recently, after Paris Fashion Week.
In Paris on October 3, E, who is also a fashion designer, wore a T-shirt that read, “White Lives Matter.”
Four days later he did Instagram posts called anti-Semitic by Jewish groups. Meta Platforms, the company that owns Instagram and Facebook, blocked E from his Instagram account for these posts.
Ye then took to Twitter, posting on October 8 for the first time in two years; Twitter soon blocked his account.
The deal with Parler came quickly, Mr Farmer said, and Parliament was “presented with an opportunity”.
“Motivating factor p [West] there was a discussion about Instagram blocking him,” he said.
Ye appears to have joined Parler on Monday and had about 91 followers at the time of the announcement. It later rose to 3,900.
“In a world where conservative views are seen as controversial, we need to make sure we have the right to express our opinions freely,” he said in a statement.
Farmer said Parler has 16.5 million registered users.
Forbes estimates E’s net worth at $2 billion ($3.2 billion).