The Memo: Competition and Market’s Authority take aim at Adobe

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PhotoStop: Competition and Market’s Authority take aim at Adobe

Amy Howe – 10 July 2023

Things have been heating up for the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a while, and it’s looking like July’s set to be the hottest month yet. In addition to the hearing into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the CMA have officially announced an investigation to Adobe’s acquisition of Figma, over fears that the merger would threaten competition among UK designers and ultimately lead to increased prices for access to Adobe and Figma’s products.

On 1 April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was established as the UK government’s main competition regulatory body, taking over many of the former functions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission. The CMA works closely with industry-specific regulatory bodies, such as Ofcom for the media and telecoms industry, to strengthen business competition in the UK and crack down on anti-competitive activities.

Similar authorities in the EU and the US are also set to launch investigations into the acquisition. The US in particular, under President Biden’s administration, are seeking to strengthen their stance on anti-competitive mergers. One to watch stateside is the FTC’s probe into Coca Cola and Pepsi over alleged price discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act. Both Adobe and Figma were given deadlines of July 7 (last Friday) to quell the CMA’s concerns and avoid further investigation.

This is yet another instance where we’ve seen the CMA step into big tech. Just last year, the watchdog ordered Meta’s sale of Giphy, the largest GIF database, over concerns that Meta could potentially cut off GIF supplies to rival platforms.

If you're interested, you can read more about competition law here