European Commission sends Adobe Statement of Objections over proposed acquisition of Figma

November 21, 2023

The European Commission has informed Adobe of its preliminary view that its proposed acquisition of Figma may reduce competition in the global markets for the supply of interactive product design software and of other creative design software.

Adobe is a global software company offering, among other things, creative design software tools (for example, Illustrator and Photoshop) and an interactive product design tool (Adobe XD). Figma is a provider of a web-based collaborative tool for interactive product design (Figma Design) as well as a whiteboarding tool.

On 7 August 2023, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation to assess Adobe’s proposed acquisition of Figma and whether the transaction may affect competition in the global markets for the supply of interactive product design software, for vector editing software and for raster editing software.

As a result of this in-depth investigation, the Commission reached the preliminary conclusion that the transaction may significantly reduce competition in the global markets for the:

  • Supply of interactive product design tools where Figma is the clear market leader and Adobe one of its largest competitors. The transaction is likely to create a dominant player by combining these market positions. Furthermore, it will result in the discontinuation of Adobe’s own interactive product design tool. Adobe XD, as well as any potential successor product and thus constitute a so-called “reverse killer acquisition”.
  • Supply of vector editing tools and supply of raster editing tools, by eliminating Figma as a potential competitor, thereby strengthening Adobe’s dominance in these markets. Figma already exerts a significant constraining influence on Adobe’s vector editing tool, Adobe Illustrator, as well as on Adobe’s raster editing tool, Photoshop. In addition, without the transaction, the Commission believes that Figma is significantly likely to enter these markets and grow into an effective competitive force.

The Commission closely cooperated with other competition authorities during both the initial investigation and the in-depth investigation and will continue such cooperation during the remainder of the in-depth investigation.

In June 2023, the UK CMA found that the deal could mean less choice for designers of digital apps, websites and other products.