On January 30, the Luxembourg Competition Authority has joined for the first time a referral request under article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR). The Commission has accepted the request submitted by 16 authorities to assess whether Adobe’s acquisition of Figma could lead to vertical or horizontal issues in product design and whiteboarding software.
Adobe is most known for its products Acrobat Reader, Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator. Adobe has also developed Adobe XD, a vector design tool that competes with Figma.
The acquisition of Figma by Adobe could lead to a reduction of competition in the market for interactive product design and whiteboarding software. Furthermore, Adobe could tie Figma’s product to its own products.
Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR)
When merging companies reach certain turnover thresholds, they have to notify the European or national competition authorities and get their approval before completing the transaction.
Article 22 of the EUMR allows Member states to refer merger cases to the Commission should the transaction risk to affect trade between Member States and threaten to significantly affect competition within their territory.
The aim is to ensure that the Commission treats cases of an EU-wide dimension even if they do not reach the European notification thresholds.
Even though Luxembourg currently does not have a national merger control regime (and thus no merger needs to be notified to the national authority), the Commission recently changed its approach to also examine merger deals that do not meet national thresholds.