Adobe's $20B Figma acquisition highlights web-based collaboration trends

Adobe's $20B Figma acquisition highlights web-based collaboration trends

Cash and stock deal will see Figma become part of the broader Adobe ecosystem, adding collaborative software development to the design vendor’s list of capabilities.

Credit: Dreamstime

Adobe has announced that it would pay US$20 billion in cash and stock to acquire Figma, a web-based collaborative design platform. Figma will be folded into the larger Adobe family of products, and will continue to operate independently until the deal closes.

The $20 billion figure is a substantial step up in valuation for Figma, which was valued at $10 billion in its last funding round in 2021. The company was founded in 2012, and Adobe said that it has since developed a dedicated following among developers. 

Figma offers a rich range of collaboration options for joint software development, as well as the popular Figjam collaborative white-boarding environment.

“As creativity becomes increasingly collaborative, the web makes it easier for teams to create together,” said David Wadhwani, Adobe executive vice president and chief business officer for digital media, on the company’s third quarter earnings conference call. 

“Figma’s web-based, multiplayer platform can accelerate the delivery of Adobe’s Creative Cloud technologies on the web, making the creative process accessible to more people.”

It's a potential coup for Adobe, according to IDC research vice president of collaboration and communities Wayne Kurtzman. The growth in the importance of visual collaboration is a key market factor for Adobe, and purchasing Figma is “exactly the right move," he said.

“We are starting to see disruptive changes to the collaboration and workflow markets — and this is among them,” Kurtzman said. “Their challenge is in not only enhancing their products with these abilities, but also to build on Figma's vision of collaboration that made it of value in the first place."

Adobe also emphasised the high profitability of Figma in its earnings call, praising the company for its expected addition of more than $200 million in net annual recurring revenue, pushing it over the $400 million mark by the end of fiscal 2022.

“With a total addressable market of [about] $16.5 billion by 2025, Figma is just getting started,” said Wadhwani.

The deal, which has not yet been approved by Figma stockholders, is still subject to their approval and customary closing conditions. About half of the total price will be paid in Adobe stock, with the remainder to be paid in cash. Adobe said that it expects the transaction to close sometime in 2023.

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