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Adobe Abandons $20 Billion Figma Acquisition Amid European Antitrust Scrutiny

 |  December 18, 2023

Adobe’s ambitious $20 billion acquisition of online design company Figma has been called off due to significant pushback in Europe over antitrust concerns, the companies announced on Monday.

The cash-and-stock deal, which was initially unveiled in September 2022, aimed to leverage Figma’s web-based, multi-player capabilities to expedite the delivery of Adobe’s creative cloud technologies on the web.

In a joint statement released on Monday, both Adobe and Figma expressed their continued belief in the merits and procompetitive benefits of the combination. However, the companies mutually agreed to terminate the transaction, citing a shared assessment that there was no clear path to obtain necessary regulatory approvals from the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

The European Commission confirmed on Monday that it was aware of the decision to terminate the deal and announced the conclusion of its investigation into the proposed transaction.

This development follows a trend of U.S. companies encountering obstacles in Europe due to concerns about potential monopolies. Biotech giant Illumina recently announced the reversal of its $7.1 billion purchase of cancer-screening company Grail after facing legal battles with antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe. Last month, European regulators expressed reservations about Amazon’s proposed acquisition of robot vacuum maker iRobot, citing potential harm to competition. In October, Microsoft successfully completed its $69 billion acquisition of video game-maker Activision Blizzard after overcoming challenges from antitrust regulators in Europe.

Related: EU Regulators To Asses Adobe’s $20 Billion Figma Deal

The UK Competition and Markets Authority had previously indicated concerns about a “substantial lessening of competition” in the global market for all-in-one product design software for professionals and editing software during an early review of the potential merger between Adobe and Figma.

Figma, founded in 2012, offers a platform that enables collaborative workflows, sophisticated design systems, and a developer ecosystem for those designing interactive mobile and web applications.

Adobe, headquartered in San Jose, California, specializes in software for creating, publishing, and promoting content, as well as managing documents.

David Wadhwani, President of Digital Media Business at Adobe, stated in a prepared statement that the software company remains committed to exploring future partnership opportunities with Figma.

As part of the termination agreement, Adobe Inc. will pay Figma a termination fee of $1 billion, as previously agreed upon. The termination marks the end of a chapter for the two companies, prompting speculation about the future of Figma and Adobe’s strategy in the evolving landscape of design and creative technologies.

Source: Seattle Times