Saturday, June 15, 2024

UK warns in-depth probe into Adobe’s $20B Figma acquisition

The UK’s competition watchdog on Friday announced that its initial investigation into software major Adobe’s $20 billion purchase of cloud-based designer platform Figma has found that the acquisition could reduce innovation and result in a “substantial lessening of competition”.

Adobe has five working days to submit proposals to address the concerns else, the investigation will proceed to an in-depth phase 2 review, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement.

“This merger will be referred for a phase 2 investigation unless the parties offer acceptable undertakings to address these competition concerns,” said the CMA.

In September last year, Adobe announced it would acquire Figma for about $20 billion in a cash and stock deal.

“We’re worried this deal could stifle innovation and lead to higher costs for companies that rely on Figma and Adobe’s digital tools –as they cease to compete to provide customers with new and better products,” said Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Mergers Director at the CMA.

Unless Adobe can put forward viable solutions to our concerns in the coming days, we will move to a more in-depth investigation, O’Carroll added.

The CMA has identified concerns in the supply of screen design software, where Adobe’s and Figma’s products compete.

It found that Figma has established a substantial share of the market for screen design software and that Adobe has been continuously investing in and competing in this segment.

“Products sold by Adobe and Figma are critical for the development of digital services that people and businesses use on a daily basis – be that popular apps and websites selling anything from holidays to streaming the latest movies.

The CMA also found that competition between Figma and Adobe has driven investment in updating and developing screen design software, and this important rivalry could be lost if the deal goes ahead.

The watchdog also identified concerns in the provision of creative design software, where Adobe offers some of the leading tools for image, video, and animation content.

Many start-ups and other businesses rely on the software products provided by Adobe and Figma to produce apps and websites, as well as engaging content.

Reports also surfaced this month that Adode’s acquisition of Figma is under scrutiny by the antitrust regulators in the European Union.

The EU regulators are preparing to launch a formal investigation into the acquisition, the Financial Times had reported.

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