EU ‘Set For In-Depth Probe’ Of $20bn Adobe-Figma Buy

Image credit: European Commission

European Union officials set to begin in-depth probe of Adobe’s $20bn acquisition of Figma following moves by US and UK regulators

The European Commission is reportedly set to undertake an in-depth investigation of Adobe’s proposed $20 billion (£16bn) acquisition of online design start-up Figma.

Adobe has declined to offer any remedies to allay antitrust officials’ concerns during the initial probe, which began last month, making it likely that a full-scale investigation will go ahead, multiple news outlets reported, citing unnamed sources.

The Commission said earlier this year that the deal could threaten the emerging market for cloud-based tools offering interactive product design and whiteboarding.

Adobe has offered some streamlined products for the market, such as the Adobe XD vector design tool, but its primary offerings are professional-grade products that run on a local workstation.

Image credit: Figma
Image credit: Figma

In-depth probe

Officials in multiple countries have signalled their concerns over large companies buying up smaller competitors and shutting them down.

The Commission is due to complete its initial probe by 7 August. A full-scale Phase 2 investigation typically adds about 90 working days to a review.

Regulators may demand remedies to solve competition issues, as occurred in the EU’s review of Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition, which it allowed to go ahead, or they may decide their initial concerns were unfounded.

Adobe said in a statement that it continues “to have productive conversations with regulatory bodies worldwide”.

Competition concerns

The US Justice Department is reportedly also preparing a lawsuit to block the merger.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on 13 July it would begin a longer probe after Adobe failed to offer remedies.

When Adobe and Figma initially announced the deal last September, Figma users wrote on social media that they feared it meant the product would disappear.

The merger with Figma would leave only one major rival to Adobe in online design tools, Australian software firm Canva.