Adobe builds collaborative design muscle with $20 bln deal for Figma

The Adobe logo is seen on the smartphone in this illustration taken June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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Sep 15 (Reuters) – Adobe Inc will buy start-up Figma for around $20 billion in its biggest deal, the Photoshop maker said on Thursday, developing apps that support online collaboration in a context global transition to hybrid working.

The cash and stock deal will give Adobe ownership of a company whose online collaborative platform for design and brainstorming is used by companies ranging from Zoom Video Communications (ZM.O) at AirBnB and Coinbase (COIN.O).

“The combination of Adobe and Figma is transformational and will accelerate our vision for collaborative creativity,” Adobe Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen said in a statement.

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Adobe has been emphasizing the collaboration tools space in recent years through acquisitions. It acquired work management platform Workfront in 2020 and cloud-based video collaboration platform Frame.io last year.

Still, shares fell 13% in early trading. Some analysts have pointed to the size of the deal which could require Adobe to raise debt. The company had cash and cash equivalents of $3.87 billion as of September 2.

“We are disappointed with the price paid for the company (Figma),” said David Wagner, portfolio manager and equity analyst at Aptus Capital Advisors, which owns a 1.5% stake in Adobe.

“It’s usually not a good sign when a company has to acquire to defend its shares. It’s not a lasting solution.”

A CNBC report last month said that thousands of Microsoft (MSFT.O) employees were using Figma, putting pressure on the close relationship the software giant shared with Adobe. Distribution to Windows-based machines helped Adobe gain ubiquity, and companies also synchronized their products across platforms.

The deal is expected to close in 2023, and San Francisco-based Figma will continue to be led by co-founder and chief executive Dylan Field. Either company will have to pay a $1 billion termination fee if it cancels the deal.

Meanwhile, Adobe’s fourth-quarter revenue forecast of $4.52 billion is lower than analysts’ estimate of $4.58 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Third-quarter profit also fell nearly 6%, reflecting the hit of a stronger dollar and higher costs.

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Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sriraj Kalluvila

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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