Europe sticks a monopoly probe into Adobe-Figma merger

US, UK watchdogs also question proposed $20B deal

The European Commission has launched an "in-depth" investigation into Adobe's $20 billion deal to acquire Figma, citing concerns that the proposed takeover could harm competition in the design software industry.

Adobe has struggled to get the deal past regulators since the biz gobble was announced in September. In February sixteen member states in the European Union requested officials investigate the possible impact of the proposal. There are also probes being carried out by the US Department of Justice, and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority.

"Adobe and Figma are two leading providers of software for the creative community in the digital sphere," said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president leading the commission's competition policy, in a statement. 

"Many users and businesses rely on their digital design tools to excel in their work. With our in-depth investigation we aim to ensure that users continue to have access to a wide pool of digital creative tools among which to choose."

Regulators are concerned that allowing the top two creative design software makers to merge could lead to an anticompetitive situation, harming EU citizens. Adobe could bundle Figma's tools into its Creative Cloud suite, which already includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more, making it more difficult for rivals to compete, the Commission suggested.

Figma, however, disagrees. "We believe Figma and Adobe can deliver far more value for designers, creators and knowledge workers together than either company could deliver on its own," a spokesperson told The Register in a statement.

"We do not believe our proposed combination will result in any reduction of competition in our respective markets, and we look forward to continued conversations with the EC focused on the benefits a combined Adobe-Figma entity will bring."

Meanwhile, Adobe said it will continue trying to convince regulators to approve the acquisition. 

"We remain confident in the merits of the case as 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," a rep for the Photoshop giant told The Register.

"We look forward to establishing these facts in the next phase of the process and successfully completing the transaction." ®

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