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Canva acquires Affinity to challenge Adobe

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Canva

Australian unicorn, Canva Inc. has made its largest acquisition to date by purchasing the Affinity suite of creative software, in a bid to strengthen its position in the competitive graphic design software market,

This strategic move marks Canva’s ambitious effort to take on Adobe Inc., the longstanding leader in software solutions for graphics professionals.

The deal, valued at “several hundred million pounds,” involves a combination of cash and stock. Canva’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Cliff Obrecht, emphasized the significance of this acquisition, highlighting its role in expanding the company’s range of professional tools and bolstering its competitive edge, Bloomberg first reported.

The acquisition brings the entire 90-person team of Serif, the British startup behind the Affinity suite, under Canva’s umbrella. Affinity’s suite of photo-editing, publishing, and illustration software, popular among Mac users, complements Canva’s existing portfolio of artificial intelligence-powered tools.

Obrecht described Affinity’s apps as the “final piece in our jigsaw,” emphasizing their potential to enhance Canva’s online workspaces.

Canva’s rise over the past decade has positioned it as worthy  competitor to Adobe, challenging the latter’s dominance in the graphic design software market. With over 175 million users and annualized revenue surpassing $2.1 billion,

Canva has seen significant growth fueled by its user-friendly products tailored for individuals without formal design training.

The acquisition of Affinity follows Canva’s strategic expansion efforts in Europe, where it has already acquired seven companies, including visual AI startup Kaleido.ai and image providers Pexels and Pixabay.

Setting up its European headquarters in London last year, Canva aims to capitalize on the region’s high potential and opportunity for growth.

While investors have long speculated about Canva’s plans for a potential public offering, the company remains focused on its growth trajectory. A recent $1.5 billion secondary share sale further portrays plans for expansion and innovation in the competitive graphic design software market.

As Canva continues to evolve and expand its offerings, its acquisition of Affinity signals a significant milestone in its quest to challenge Adobe’s dominance and establishes its position as a leading player in the industry. With the addition of Affinity’s suite of creative software, Canva is poised to further disrupt the market and attract a broader user base seeking intuitive and powerful design tools.

Canva,  run by Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO, was valued by private investors at $40 billion in September 2021.

Canva was launched in 2013 by Perkins, now-husband Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams in Sydney, Australia, but was met by investor skepticism due to its location.

Like Obrecht, she owns an estimated 18% stake. The couple has pledged to transfer more than 80% of their stake to the Canva Foundation for charitable causes.

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