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Canva acquires Affinity for $380 million to take on Adobe

What just happened? Australian startup Canva has acquired the British creative software company Affinity (formerly Serif) in a deal worth around $380 million. Canva expects that Affinity’s photo editing, design, and publishing tools will help it compete with Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, which many consider the gold industry standard.

Canva confirmed the acquisition this week, saying that adding the Affinity suite to its portfolio will help empower companies, organizations, and smaller teams “to achieve their (creative) goals.” In a separate announcement, Affinity CEO Ashley Hewson said he is excited and looking forward to starting a “momentous new chapter” in the company’s journey. Hewson added that Canva’s massive user base will help the company reach more customers than it could have alone.

Affinity is one of several companies Canva has bought out recently. In the last few years, it has acquired online design and photo-related services, including the Austrian visual AI platform and stock photo repositories Pexels and Pixabay.

Canva is known for its cloud-based design service, with over 175 million users globally. Affinity’s suite of professional design software, available on Windows, Mac, and iPad, has more than three million users globally, making it one of the biggest challengers to Adobe’s dominance in the sector.

Affinity offers several creative apps, including photo editing programs and complex graphic and vector design solutions – usually offered at a fraction of Adobe’s app prices.

The deal is good news for Canva users since the company plans to eventually add Affinity’s creative tools to its online photo editing service. While the company’s web app typically targets beginners, co-founder Cliff Obrecht says that acquisition should attract users with more advanced photo editing skills, including professional designers.

Constellation Research analyst Ray Wang told Bloomberg he believes Affinity’s software suite will help Canva become more competitive with Adobe. Canva’s immediate target is Adobe Express, an all-in-one design, photo, and video tool that makes content creation easy, even for people without graphic design skills. Wang also thinks that the companies’ cultures are well aligned, meaning the 90 Affinity employees that will join Canva following the acquisition should not have any problems transitioning.

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