Adobe snaps up Figma for $20B, taking out one of its biggest rivals in digital design

·4 min read

Big news in the world of digital creative technology: Adobe today announced that it would acquire Figma for $20 billion, taking out one of its biggest rivals in the realm of digital design.

Both the WSJ and Bloomberg reported earlier this morning that Adobe was close to announcing the deal to acquire Figma. In the end, Adobe confirmed the news to coincide with its quarterly earnings.

Those Q3 earnings saw the company post revenues of $4.43 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of $3.40, which respectively met and exceeded analysts' expectations. Nevertheless, the company said that it might need to finance this deal with a loan, and it provided a lukewarm outlook for the next quarter, with revenues expected to be $4.52 billion and EPS of $3.50, citing "the overall macroeconomic environment" and "FX headwinds". Its stock is trading down nearly 10% pre-market open -- one sign of how Adobe likely hoped the news of consolidating and taking out a rival could give it a boost.

Investors are not the only ones a little worried...

These are the kinds of reactions -- from their target community -- that are a strong signal to Adobe and Figma to definitely keep an eye on how they integrate and take their users along to whatever the next step is.

The acquisition is coming in the form of a deal that is half cash and half stock, Adobe said, and it will also include 6 million additional restricted stock units granted to Figma’s CEO and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing. It is expected to close in 2023, "subject to the receipt of required regulatory clearances and approvals and the satisfaction of other closing conditions, including the approval of Figma’s stockholders."

Design and prototyping, for individuals and teams, executed in a very streamlined and modern, cloud-based environment, are Figma's product strengths, and it's amassed some 4 million users to date. Adobe meanwhile has been building and acquiring a number of businesses in the wider world of digital creation, and that has taken it not just into the larger and more general reaches of design but also marketing and other areas adjacent to design in the longer creation chain. Adobe's DNA is in design, though, and it has built out iconic products in areas like imaging (such as Photoshop), fonts, illustration, video and 3D and more.

The idea now will be to create a seamless connection between these and Figma, essentially building it out as the native platform to bring them all together. Adobe, of course, already had something like this, in the form of AdobeXD. It's not clear what happens with that when this deal closes.

Indeed, whether all this will raise the attention of antitrust authorities will be worth watching: Adobe is already dominant in so many of the tools that are used, and now it will be the dominant player as well in the platform to bring in and provision all of these tools.

“Adobe’s greatness has been rooted in our ability to create new categories and deliver cutting-edge technologies through organic innovation and inorganic acquisitions,” said Shantanu Narayen, chairman and CEO, Adobe, in a statement. “The combination of Adobe and Figma is transformational and will accelerate our vision for collaborative creativity.”

"With Adobe's amazing innovation and expertise, especially in 3D, video, vector, imaging and fonts, we can further reimagine end-to-end product design in the browser, while building new tools and spaces to empower customers to design products faster and more easily,” added Dylan Field, co-founder and CEO, Figma. Field will stay on and continue to lead the Figma business, said Adobe.

A $20 billion price tag is a sizable jump for Figma, which was last valued at $10 billion in June 2021, when it raised $200 million. But Adobe is doing more than just taking out a big competitor. It's picking up a fast-scaling business.

It notes that Figma's total addressable market is $16.5 billion by 2025, and that "the company is expected to add approximately $200 million in net new ARR this year, surpassing $400 million in total ARR exiting 2022, with best-in-class net dollar retention of greater than 150 percent. With gross margins of approximately 90 percent and positive operating cash flows, Figma has built an efficient, high-growth business," it said.

The deal definitely lays down the gauntlet for other big names in the world of digital design. Specifically it will be interesting to see what comes next for companies like Canva and Sketch.

Field is due to speak at our Disrupt event this year: hopefully (!) he still makes it -- it will be a hell of a session if he does.

The companies are holding a conference call later today and we'll listen in and add in interesting details as and when they come up.

More to come.