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By acquiring Affinity, Canva should be better able to compete with Adobe’s creative tools

Ambitious Australian design and visual communications startup Canva today announced it is acquiring British creative tools company Affinity (formerly Serif). Bloomberg reports that the deal is worth hundreds of millions of pounds (about $380 million). The company confirmed to TechCrunch that the number is accurate.

Canva’s products are typically aimed at beginners, but company co-founder Cliff Obrecht believes the acquisition opens the door to more advanced users. “While Canva has spent the past decade primarily focusing on the 99 percent of knowledge workers who have no design training, truly empowering the world to design includes empowering professional designers,” he wrote in a blog post announcing the deal. “By joining forces with Affinity, we’re excited to unlock the full spectrum of designers at every level and stage of the design journey.”

With Affinity, the company can also better compete with Adobe, especially Adobe Express, said Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Canva needs a product with more sophisticated features to compete with Adobe,” Wang told TechCrunch. “Their base product is not as powerful as Adobe Express. Affinity has a very easy-to-use photo editor. The page layout is also very easy to use,” he said. What’s more, he said the two companies’ cultures are a good fit.

It is conceivable that both parties to the acquisition are “excited” and “delighted” with this deal. Since they only exchanged a large sum of money, why not join forces? In a blog post on Affinity’s website, CEO Ashley Hewson sought to allay customer concerns about the change. “We know that those who have had faith in Affinity—some of them since we launched the first Mac app—will have questions about what this means for the future of our products,” he wrote in the post.

But he (and the CEOs of each acquired company) believe they can do much more than they could on their own, leveraging the resources of the much larger Canva. “In Canva, we’ve found like-minded people who can help us take Affinity to the next level. Their additional resources will mean we can deliver more, faster,” he wrote.

When valuations skyrocketed in 2021, Canva hit a high of $40 billion. However, in a recent secondary stock sale, the company fell somewhat even though it still valued it at $26 billion.

This certainly leaves them with enough value to make such a purchase. With Affinity, Canva has gained 3 million users worldwide and 90 employees will join the company. The deal has officially been completed.

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