Winners and Losers of the Voided $20B Adobe-Figma Deal


The Gist

  • Acquisition aborted. Adobe and Figma cancel their $20B deal due to regulatory hurdles, altering market dynamics.
  • Figma’s future. Figma retains independence, ensuring continued innovation and autonomy in design.
  • Adobe’s adaptation. Adobe’s expansion and collaborative creativity vision hit, yet opens possibilities for future partnerships.

It’s over. Officially.

More than 15 months after Adobe announced its intention to acquire design platform Figma, the companies announced Monday, Dec. 18 they entered into a mutual agreement to terminate the deal as European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority regulators offered “no clear path” to a finished deal. Adobe announced the deal Sept. 15, 2022, for a mix of cash and stock consideration to the tune of $20 billion.

“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, chair and CEO of Adobe, 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.”

Here’s an early look at the potential winners and losers from the fallen deal.

Winners in the Adobe-Figma $20 Billion Collapse

Competitors in the Design Software Market

The deal falling through prevents a major consolidation in the design software market, ensuring that smaller players and Adobe’s direct competitors can continue to thrive without facing an overwhelming challenge from a combined Adobe-Figma entity. This maintains a healthier level of competition and innovation in the market.

Darren Hood, UX designer, told CMSWire when the Adobe-Figma deal went down, “Adobe has, once again, eliminated a major competitor,” reflecting on the potential market impact had the acquisition proceeded. 

Related Article: How Does Adobe’s $20B Acquisition of Figma Impact UX Designers?

Figma’s Independence and Innovation

Figma retaining its independence ensures that it can continue to foster its unique culture of innovation and collaboration, which has been key to its success. This independence is crucial for maintaining the pioneering spirit and agility that often gets diluted in large corporate structures, allowing Figma to continue leading in its niche.

Dylan Field, Figma’s CEO and co-founder, said when the acquisition broke last year, “We plan to continue to run Figma the way we have always run Figma,” emphasizing the importance of maintaining their operational autonomy. That’s definitely true now, something a lot of UX designers want. It simply has a large community of followers:

Adobe’s Commitment to Stay in Touch With Figma

But maybe a lighter partnership down the road would be good for UX designers? Users of each platform could see partnerships down the road, according to Adobe.

“Figma has built an incredible product design platform, and I am confident in their continued innovation and growth after spending more than a year with their team and community,” David Wadhwani, president, digital media business, Adobe, said in a statement. “I have been impressed with Dylan and his incredible team at Figma and will look for ways to partner to delight joint customers in the future.”

Related Article: Adobe Acquires Figma for $20B

UX/UI Designers Preferring Diversity of Tools

Designers and creative professionals benefit from a diverse ecosystem of tools that cater to different needs and workflows. The preservation of Figma as an independent entity ensures that this diversity remains, offering designers the freedom to choose tools based on their specific preferences and requirements.

Tony Brinton, founder and principal at Brinton Design and director of digital at OTTO Brand Lab, highlighted in an earlier interview with CMSWire Figma’s unique appeal, saying, “Figma delivers a collaborative design experience that UX/UI professionals…have been wanting,” indicating the distinct value Figma offers in the market.


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