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Adobe scraps $20B acquisition of design platform Figma after facing regulatory hurdles

Adobe has abandoned its $20 billion deal to acquire design platform Figma, citing a lack of approval from regulators. Adobe will pay a termination fee of $1 billion.

Adobe on Monday shelved its $20 billion cash-and-stock deal for cloud-based designer platform Figma, pointing to "no clear path" for approvals from antitrust regulators in the European Union and the UK.

The deal, which was announced in September last year, was the latest to draw tough scrutiny from regulators worried over Big Tech acquisitions that boost dominant companies' market power or involve startups seen as nascent rivals.

Shares of the Photoshop and Illustrator maker, which will pay a termination fee of $1 billion to Figma, rose about 1.7% premarket on Monday.

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Britain's competition watchdog earlier said on Monday that Adobe would not propose remedies to resolve regulatory concerns regarding the buyout.

The European Commission and UK's Competition and Markets Authority did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Adobe had argued it does not compete with Figma in any meaningful way.

It had said in November its only product relevant to the antitrust question was the Adobe XD design tool, which lost $25 million as a standalone app over the last three years and has only five full-time employees.

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"Adobe and Figma strongly disagree with the recent regulatory findings, but we believe it is in our respective best interests to move forward independently," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said in a statement on Monday.

The deal was seen a bet on "the future of work" but sparked investor concerns over the rich price tag and wiped out more than $30 billion in Adobe's market value when it was announced.

It was also a major win for Figma's venture capital backers, including Index Ventures, Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins.

Earlier this month, Adobe forecast annual and quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates as tightened client spending remains a drag.

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