Adobe's $20B Figma acquisition falls on UK antitrust radar

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The U.K.'s competition authority is adding Adobe's proposed $20 billion bid for digital design rival Figma to its ever-growing to-do list.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed today that it's launching an initial "phase 1" merger inquiry, with the relevant stakeholders given a two-week period to provide comment.

Adobe first confirmed it was tabling a $20 billion bid for Figma last September, and it was always expected to draw at least some regulatory scrutiny. Back in February, the European Commission (EC) revealed that it was assessing the acquisition on competition grounds, noting that the deal "threatens to significantly affect competition in the market for interactive product design and whiteboarding software."

The EC intervened after receiving requests from more than a dozen constituent EU countries, including France and Germany.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is also reportedly readying a lawsuit to block the deal, though nothing is yet confirmed.

A full plate

The Adobe-Figma acquisition is the latest in a long line of M&A transactions that the U.K. has elected to look at. The CMA recently confirmed it was pursuing Broadcom's proposed $61 billion VMware acquisition, while just last week it went the whole nine yards by officially blocking Microsoft's plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.

The CMA had also been looking to investigate Apple and Google's "mobile duopoly" around browsers and cloud gaming, however Apple managed to get that thrown out on a legal technicality. The CMA had appealed against that ruling, but news emerged earlier today that their appeal was rejected.

Elsewhere, U.K. communications industry regulator Ofcom is currently assessing whether to refer the local cloud infrastructure services market to the CMA, with AWS and Microsoft in its crosshairs.

Following the initial Adobe-Figma merger inquiry notice period which ends on May 18, the CMA will have until June 30 to assess its findings and decide whether to proceed to an in-depth "phase 2" investigation.