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Adobe and Figma Jettison $20 Billion Deal Amid Regulatory Pressure

Adobe abandoned its $20 billion purchase of designer platform Figma over regulatory roadblocks.

The decision, announced Monday (Dec. 18), came hours after reports that Adobe was still negotiating with British regulators and marks the end of what might have been one of the largest-ever takeovers of a private software company.

“Adobe and Figma strongly disagree with the recent regulatory findings, but we believe it is in our respective best interests to move forward independently,” Adobe Chair and CEO Shantanu Narayen said in a Monday news release. “While Adobe and Figma shared a vision to jointly redefine the future of creativity and productivity, we continue to be well positioned to capitalize on our massive market opportunity and mission to change the world through personalized digital experiences.”

“It’s not the outcome we had hoped for, but despite thousands of hours spent with regulators around the world detailing differences between our businesses, our products and the markets we serve, we no longer see a path toward regulatory approval of the deal,” Figma Co-founder and CEO Dylan Field wrote on the company website. “We entered into this agreement 15 months ago with the goal of accelerating what both Adobe and Figma could do for our respective communities. While we leave that future behind and continue on as an independent company, we are excited to find ways to partner for our users.”

Adobe agreed to buy Figma — which specializes in cloud-based collaboration tools that help teams create and build web applications — in September of last year.

In the months that followed, reports emerged that various regulators were probing the proposed deal, including the European Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the United Kingdom, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the United States

As recently as Thursday (Dec. 14), the companies were meeting with senior DOJ officials, while also rejecting proposed remedies suggested by the CMA, a move that jeopardized the deal.

The CMA had expressed apprehension that the purchase could hinder competition in the product design software sector.

“Adobe and Figma are two of the world-leading providers of software for app and web designers, and our investigation so far has found that they are close competitors,” Margot Daly, chair of the independent group handling the CMA’s investigation, said earlier this year. “This proposed deal, therefore, has the potential to impact the U.K.’s digital design industry by reducing choice, innovation and the development of new competitive products.”

Adobe criticized the CMA’s position, calling the regulator’s suggested remedies “disproportionate.”