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Adobe’s $20 billion Figma bid is under threat from UK antitrust regulators

Adobe’s $20 billion Figma bid is under threat from UK antitrust regulators


The CMA is launching an in-depth probe into the merger amid concerns the deal will cause a ‘substantial lessening of competition.’

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An illustration containing black Adobe logos in front of white Figma logos on a red background.
The investigation has been referred to the next phase, where the merger will be assessed by an independent panel.
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

Adobe’s $20 billion bid for cloud-based design platform Figma will now be subject to an in-depth probe by the UK’s competition watchdog, which will decide whether to approve the merger or block the deal entirely. 

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on Thursday that it had referred the acquisition for a “phase two” investigation — a longer, more intensive assessment carried out by an independent CMA panel — after Adobe and Figma informed the regulator that they wouldn’t provide resolutions to address concerns the merger would cause a “substantial lessening of competition” for designers in the UK.

The CMA has until December 27th to conclude the second phase of its investigation

Following its initial “phase one” investigation last month, the CMA concluded that the acquisition would remove a “significant competitive threat to Adobe” given the similarities between Figma and Adobe’s own all-in-one product design software, Adobe XD. The watchdog gave the companies a deadline of July 7th — just five working days from the announcement — to offer “acceptable undertakings” that may have permitted the merger to go ahead without further scrutiny. The CMA has now set a statutory deadline of December 27th to conclude the second phase of its investigation.

Dana Rao, Adobe’s general counsel and chief trust officer, has provided the following statement to The Verge in response to the CMA’s decision:

We remain confident in the merits of the case as Figma’s product design is an adjacency to Adobe’s core creative products and Adobe has no meaningful plans to compete in the product design space. We look forward to establishing these facts in the next phase of the process and successfully completing the transaction. As demonstrated in our recent strong Q2 earnings, Adobe continues to execute against a massive $200B-plus market opportunity and deliver groundbreaking innovations and industry-leading AI capabilities across our products.

Adobe’s $20 billion Figma bid is also being assessed by regulators in the US and the EU. The European Commission has set a provisional deadline of August 7th to decide whether to clear the deal or similarly launch its own in-depth investigation that risks blocking the merger.