Why go so far out of its price comfort zone and pay double Figma’s most recent private valuation? The easy answer is that it’s about removing a potential competitor from the market. Right, Adobe XD is a similar product, but this deal could be about more than just playing defense.
It could be – like IBM buys Red Hat for $34 billion in 2018 or Salesforce acquires Slack for nearly $28 billion in 2020 – Adobe’s executive team saw a company that could fundamentally change their organization.
For IBM, the acquisition of Red Hat is about hybrid cloud. For Salesforce and Slack, it is digital workplace, but both saw a change coming in their markets and made a huge offer to a key company to stay ahead of it. Both also keep those segments independent of the current CEO (more on that later).
Perhaps Adobe saw the Figma deal as a moment of organizational change as it saw the creative market make an important shift from a focus on creating assets with tools like Photoshop. and Illustrator to a firm focus on the creators themselves and the collaborative nature of the design process.
The former is where Adobe has built most of its business. The latter is represented by Figma, a startup with visionary founders who wanted to change the way people think about design in the digital landscape, a change so important that old security companies are willing to spend excessively to attract young emerging people and bring both ways of thinking together.
We spoke with people from related companies, Figma investors and industry analysts to understand why did this deal go down. The bottom line is that there are a lot of reasons, but perhaps the best one is that Figma and Adobe thought they would be better together.