Adobe calls off $20 billion deal for Figma after pushback from Europe over possible antitrust issues

U.S. companies have regularly run into roadblocks in Europe over similar concerns of monopolies

Adobe logo is seen on smartphone in this illustration taken June 13, 2022.DADO RUVIC (REUTERS)

Adobe’s planned $20 billion acquisition of online design company Figma is being called off due to pushback in Europe over antitrust concerns, the companies said Monday.

The companies announced the cash-and-stock deal in September 2022, seeking a path with Figma’s web-based, multi-player capabilities to accelerate the delivery of Adobe’s creative cloud technologies on the web.

“Although both companies continue to believe in the merits and procompetitive benefits of the combination, Adobe and Figma mutually agreed to terminate the transaction based on a joint assessment that there is no clear path to receive necessary regulatory approvals from the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority,” Adobe and Figma said in a prepared statement on Monday.

The European Commission said Monday that it was aware of the decision to terminate the deal and that its investigation into the proposed transaction had now ended.

U.S. companies have regularly run into roadblocks in Europe over similar concerns of monopolies.

Biotech giant Illumina on Sunday said that it will undo its $7.1 billion purchase of the cancer-screening company Grail after losing legal battles with antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe. Late last month, European regulators said that Amazon’s proposed acquisition of robot vacuum maker iRobot may harm competition.

In October, Microsoft completed its purchase of video game-maker Activision Blizzard for $69 billion after a bruising fight with antitrust regulators in Europe.

Last month the Markets Authority said that an early review of a potential tie-up between the two companies suggested a “substantial lessening of competition” in the global market for all-in-one product design software for professionals, as well as editing software.

Figma, founded in 2012, allows those who design interactive mobile and web applications to collaborate through multi-player workflows, sophisticated design systems and a developer ecosystem.

Adobe, based in San Jose, California, sells software for creating, publishing and promoting content, and managing documents.

David Wadhwani, president, Digital Media Business, at Adobe, said in prepared statement that the software company will continue to look for ways to partner with Figma in the future.

The companies said that they have signed a termination agreement that resolves all outstanding matters from the transaction. Adobe Inc. will pay Figma a termination fee of $1 billion, which was previously agreed to.

Shares of Adobe rose slightly in morning trading.

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