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Adobe Buys Figma (And Another One’s Gone?)

Adobe rocked the design world by acquiring tiny Figma for an eye-popping $20 billion. Figma’s user base fears this move is a death knell for the popular UX and UI design tool suite. Adobe claims that isn’t so. But Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute says the numbers just don’t add up.

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Aired: September 23, 2022

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Hello there, and welcome. Well, it’s time to queue up Queen – as another one bites the dust. Adobe got a taste for taking out one of its primary competitors and has purchased the innovative design platform Figma. The cost: A whopping $20 billion. That’s the same rough valuation of Snapchat for a design platform that your team is probably not using. So, what gives?

This is the news you need to lead in content marketing.

Robert Rose here with the news. It’s what’s new – but (more importantly) what’s important in the world of content marketing. (For the best in best practices, you can always go to

While we were off celebrating Content Marketing World, the design world was rocked by the news that Adobe acquired Figma, makers of a small BUT very popular suite of UI and UX tools.

The company has flown under the radar ­– except for its legions of fans. Estimates are around 4 million people use Figma, about 20% of subscribers to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe paid an astounding $20 billion for the company – or roughly a multiplier of 50 times Figma’s annual revenue. To put that into perspective: If you’re a freelancer making $100K per year as a solopreneur, that would be like somebody offering you $5 million for exclusive rights to your services.

I think the appropriate answer is, “Yes, we’ll take it.”

Designers worried out loud on the internet that Adobe’s primary motivation for buying Figma would be to take it off the market or ruin it somehow. Others worry that Adobe may take some of the more innovative features, bury them in their tools, and disintegrate the core product.

Adobe says it doesn’t have plans to do that and really likes the company and its products.

The stock market, however, did not like the acquisition. Adobe’s stock dropped almost 20 percent on the day the acquisition was announced.

CMI’s take: On the surface, this deal makes sense from the standpoint of a company buying a competitive product and incorporating its best features. But I don’t think it does make sense at all.

The deal is a combination of cash and stock. Adobe’s stock is at a 52-week low, and they seemingly overpaid for Figma. It’ll become even more expensive if Adobe’s stock starts to rise.

And with Figma 4 million users, Adobe will need to have a ton of those users pay exponentially more to start to make a story about recurring revenue paying for this acquisition.

The only way this deal makes sense is if Adobe saw Figma as an existential risk that had to be taken out. Adobe got out of its James Bond car, looked across the street, saw a more dashing secret agent putting on the 007 uniform, and went, “Nope. That can’t happen. It might hurt a lot, but they can’t replace me, no matter the cost.”

The only way this deal makes sense is if Adobe saw Figma as an existential risk that had to be taken out, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent Share on X

How much of your company would you give away if you could take out a competitor that was a demonstrable threat to your existence? You might eat brown bag lunches for a while, that’s for sure.

If you’re an investor in Figma, on the other hand, this might be the biggest gift you’ve ever been given. So congratulations to them for a hugely successful exit.

So, if you’re contemplating design suites for your content creation team, be careful about how much you invest in Figma. It may go away. And Adobe just got a lot more attractive.

And that’s five minutes of news you need to lead in content marketing. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, it’s your story. Tell it well.

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