Adobe’s US$20 billion Figma acquisition under threat: Where does that leave Canva?

Innovation

Design juggernaut Adobe’s US$20 billion bid to purchase cloud-based design platform Figma is reportedly under investigation by EU regulators over anti-competition concerns. That could be good news for Australian Adobe-rival, Canva.
Key Facts
  • Figma, which launched in 2012, has challenged Adobe’s grip on the creative design industry – it could be used on the web (no app required), runs natively in the cloud and was more affordable and collaborative.
  • Canva has also historically been seen as a challenger to Adobe thanks to its user-friendly platform and freemium subscription model.
  • The Figma acquisition allows Adobe to stay more relevant and compete for the same kinds of consumers as Canva.
  • The acquisition is now under threat by European antitrust regulators, who are expected to launch a formal investigation into the acquisition later this year over concerns it could lead to an anti-competitive environment.

Authorities in the European Union (EU) are reportedly preparing to launch an investigation into software design giant Adobe’s US$20 billion bid to purchase cloud-based design platform, Figma.

If the acquisition is blocked by regulators, it could be a boon for Australian design unicorn, Canva, which made its name as an easy-to-use alternative to Adobe and has since grown to host more than 100 million monthly users worldwide, and around 5 million paid subscribers.

Background

Last year, Adobe revealed its plans to acquire Figma for US$20 billion, a figure that is around 50 times Figma’s annual recurring revenue. If it succeeds, it will be the sixth-largest software acquisition deal in history.

The UK has already launched an initial probe into the deal, while the US is reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit to block the transaction, according to the Financial Times.

Now, it is expected to face regulators in Brussels, with EU regulators confirming Adobe would need to secure antitrust approval, despite the deal’s turnover not meeting the bloc’s threshold.

Looking ahead

The deal poses a major threat to Canva, which was founded by Australian rich-listers Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams in 2012. The company’s valuation skyrocketed to a US$40 billion valuation in 2021, but as the overall tech industry began to decline, its valuation is now reported to be around the US$20 billion mark. Still, the company is regarded to be Adobe’s largest competitor.

Adobe’s Figma deal could see Adobe, which is generally used by graphic designers and digital artists, benefit from Figma’s web-first collaborative tools, which are generally used by product designers, marketers and web developers – who are also Canva users.

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