EU regulators have formally filed an antitrust complaint against Adobe (ADBE:US) for its $20 billion bid to acquire the cloud-based product design platform, Figma. After launching an in-depth investigation on August 7th, the European Commission reached a preliminary conclusion on Friday, expressing concerns that the deal could significantly reduce competition in global markets for interactive product design tools.
The Commission raised several objections, specifying its concerns about competition. This perspective of EU officials is that Figma currently wields quite a notable competitive influence on Adobe's raster and vector editing tools. Moreover, it is expected to evolve into a prominent competitive force in the market for vector and raster editing tools without the proposed merger.
Till present, neither Adobe nor Figma has provided any remedies for the antitrust concerns raised during the investigation. Adobe has already begun phasing out its UX/UI product design app ‘Adobe XD’, which is quite similar to Figma. The discontinuation of Adobe XD, along with any potential successor product, is considered a "reverse killer acquisition" by the Commission.
Beyond the EU, Adobe faces regulatory challenges. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is conducting a similar investigation, and there are rumors of the U.S. Justice Department preparing its antitrust lawsuit to block the deal.
Adobe remains confident in its case, asserting that Figma's product design is an adjacency to Adobe's core creative products, and Adobe has no meaningful plans to compete in the product design space, according to an Adobe spokesperson.
The European Commission is expected to make a final decision on the proposed Adobe/Figma merger by February 5th.
Despite uneasing concerns, ADBE stock has shown considerable strength year-to-date, with a substantial increase of over 81% in share price. Most recently, Senator Markwayne Mullin made an investment in the software firm valued between $1,000 - $15,000 on October 3, securing shares at a closing price of $507.03 each. Significantly, since his acquisition, the stock has witnessed a noteworthy surge of more than 20% in value.