Adobe, Figma pull the plug on $20 billion merger

Adobe and collaborative interface design tool provider Figma will not complete their planned $20 billion merger, as pressure from US and European regulators made the deal’s path to completion too treacherous.

The companies, in a joint statement issued Monday, said that the deal would have been a boon to both parties, but that the regulatory climate made it impossible.

“Adobe and Figma strongly disagree with the recent regulatory findings, but we believe it is in our respective best interests to move forward independently,” said Adobe chair and CEO Shantanu Narayen. “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.”

The EU Commission published a Statement of Objections last month, saying that the potential for the deal to reduce competition in multiple markets, most notably vector- and raster-editing tools and interactive product design applications. In the former market, according to the EU Commission, Figma currently serves as necessary competition to Adobe, which the deal would undermine. The same assertion was made in regard to the interactive product design market, with the combination of the two companies likely to create a dominant position.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said much the same thing as the EU Commission last month, saying that the deal would result in “a substantial lessening of competition” in the aforementioned markets, and that it would remove the impetus for Adobe to develop certain types of products independently, stifling innovation.

“Our provisional conclusion is therefore that the Merger would remove competition between close competitors and an important competitive constraint on Figma, in a market in which Figma is already the strongest player by far and there are few other competitive constraints,” the regulator’s report said.

The U.S. Department of Justice was rumored to be on the point of filing an antitrust lawsuit under the Clayton Act, and a meeting between the companies and the DoJ days before the announcement that the deal was off was widely interpreted as one of the final steps before such a suit would have been filed, according to a report from Politico.

Under the terms of the deal, which was initially announced in September 2022, Adobe will pay a termination fee of $1 billion to Figma. Neither company could be reached for additional comment on the matter.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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