UK launches in-depth investigation into Adobe's $20 billion Figma purchase

Adobe said it wouldn't make any concessions to address competition concerns.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Adobe is now facing tighter scrutiny of its $20 billion Figma acquisition. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an in-depth investigation of the deal after Adobe declined to make concessions that would resolve antitrust concerns. The "phase 2" probe will have a group of independent experts determine whether or not the merger will reduce competition in design software. The CMA has until December 27th to complete the review.

We've asked Adobe for comment. The company rejected the CMA's claims when plans for the new investigation were unveiled in June, and was still confident it would complete the buyout. It previously said it would treat Figma as an independent company and didn't have plans to raise prices.

The CMA's initial inquiry determined that Figma's web collaboration platform had significant market share, and that a competitive "rivalry" would vanish if Adobe bought the relative newcomer. This could lead to higher prices and less innovation, the Authority said at the time. Adobe, meanwhile, has argued that buying Figma would strengthen both companies' products. Creative Cloud apps would get some of Figma's collaborative features, while Figma's platform would receive some of Adobe's functionality.

Adobe still hopes to close the Figma merger by the end of the year. It still faces a US investigation, however, and the European Union will make its decision by August 7th. There's no guarantee the purchase will wrap on time or at all, in other words. If any one of these agencies blocks the merger or conducts a prolonged review, Adobe will have to rethink its plans.