Canva acquires Affinity, further wounding a regulator-bruised Adobe

Yet another reason to reconsider that overpriced Creative Cloud subscription

Canva is stepping up its competition with Adobe for creative software dominance with the acquisition of popular creative software suite Affinity.

Australian outfit Canva said in a blog post today that it is picking up UK-based Serif, the company behind Affinity, and its entire 90-person team. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed in Canva's statement, but co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht told Bloomberg the cash-and-stock deal was worth "several hundred million pounds."

"From sales and marketing, to brand and creative teams, the need to create effective and engaging visual content is on the rise," Obrecht said in a statement. "The Affinity team comes with an incredible caliber of talent and technology and we're delighted to welcome them to Canva as we enter our next phase together."

Canva describes its suite of online design software as being built for "the 99 percent of knowledge workers without design training," and said the acquisition of Affinity will enable the combined company to appeal to professional designers as well.

"With Affinity, professional designers have access to everything they need at an affordable price and without the complexity of traditional design tools," Canva said. "Together, we're excited to turn their movement into a revolution."

What the future of the two companies looks like isn't immediately clear, and Canva tells us it will share more about how both will be marketed (be it under a combined brand or separately) in the coming months.

That said, we did get a peek at how Canva sees Affinity's products as complementary to its own. "The idea is for users to be able to craft with Affinity and scale through Canva; professional designers can make templates, vectors and illustrations for a whole organization to use," a Canva spokesperson told The Register.

More bad news for Adobe?

Adobe hasn't been having a great run as of recently. Late last year it was under investigation by the FTC for making subscriptions too difficult to cancel, which may result in hefty fines. A short time later Adobe abandoned plans to acquire design software company Figma after regulators raised questions, forcing it to shell out $1 billion for terminating the deal.

Adobe stock, which is down more than 12 percent for the year to date, took another hit when OpenAI introduced text-to-video tool Sora, which could make some of its software tools obsolete.

XD, Adobe's product that was put into maintenance mode as the Figma acquisition neared, was also canned for good after the acquisition failed, meaning Adobe has a gap in its offerings – one that could be filled by Canva's web design tool alongside more professional-level design software from Affinity.

To make matters even worse for Adobe, there's the matter of pricing. It's impossible to purchase Adobe's creative suite software without subscribing to Creative Cloud and shelling out at least $22.99 a month for an individual subscription to a single app. A full Creative Cloud subscription, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, inDesign, and other apps, starts at $59.99 per month. If you want the right to cancel without a fee, both options are considerably more expensive.

Affinity, on the other hand, can be purchased as standalone products, with the company's Designer, Photo, and Publisher tools available for a one-time payment of $114.99. As is often the case when smaller companies release updated versions of their software, upgrading to newer releases is available for a reduced price too.

When asked how it planned to price Affinity software going forward, Canva told us: "There's no changes to the product [Affinity] customers know and love right now."

Likewise, Affinity said it intended to maintain its reputation as a company with affordability at front of mind.

"We've worked tirelessly to challenge the status quo, delivering professional-grade creative software that is both accessible and affordable," said Affinity CEO Ashley Hewson. "Canva's commitment to empowering everyone to create aligns perfectly with those values."

Adobe didn't respond to questions for this story. ®

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