Adobe is abandoning its planned $20 billion acquisition of Figma after the companies determined that there was no clear path to obtaining approval from UK and European Union regulators. The two sides have signed an agreement that fully resolves all aspects of the Adobe-Figma merger termination. Adobe will pay the collaborative design platform a previously agreed $1 billion termination fee after failing to overcome regulatory hurdles.
In November, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission both cited concerns over the proposed acquisition's impact on competition. The CMA said in its provisional findings that that the merger would “eliminate competition between two main competitors.” The watchdog said it was considering either blocking the deal or requiring Adobe to sell Figma's core product, Figma Design, along with Adobe XD.
Earlier on Monday, Adobe claimed that it wouldn't offer the CMA any potential remedies. “It is clear that no realistic remedy would satisfy the concerns the CMA is maintaining,” an Adobe spokesperson told Bloomberg. “We believe that the best path forward is to continue our ongoing engagement with the CMA on the merits.”
Last month, the EC sent Adobe a Statement of Objections, in which it warned the company that its planned purchase of Figma "may reduce competition in the global markets for the supply of interactive product design software and of other creative design software," such as vector editing tools (i.e. Illustrator and its ilk) and Photoshop-style raster editing tools. The EC planned to make a final decision on the merger by February 5. Adobe had indicated it was willing to offer possible remedies to appease European regulators, but it appears that's no longer the case.
“Adobe and Figma strongly disagree with the recent regulatory findings, but we believe it is in our respective best interests to move forward independently,” Shantanu Narayen, Adobe chair and CEO, said in a statement. “While Adobe and Figma shared a vision to jointly redefine the future of creativity and productivity, we continue to be well positioned to capitalize on our massive market opportunity and mission to change the world through personalized digital experiences.”
Adobe also anticipated a potential lawsuit from the US Department of Justice in an attempt to block the deal Stateside. The company and Figma reportedly met with DOJ officials last week to try and secure approval for their merger.