Croud snaps up Verb Brands

David Murphy
Croud Co-founder and CEO, Luke Smith

Digital marketing agency Croud has acquired luxury performance marketing agency Verb Brands. The news marks Croud’s first UK acquisition since receiving funding from private equity investment firm LDC in November 2019.

Founded in 2013 by Chris Donnelly, CEO, and later joined by Ben Askins, Managing Director, Verb provides full-service performance marketing for leading luxury and premium brands, including Flannels, Bloomingdales, Calzedonia, Net-a-Porter, Bugatti, and Harrods. Verb will continue to operate under its brand name, with both Donnelly and Askins remaining with the business in their current capacity.  

Croud said that by combining Verb’s expertise in the luxury sector with Croud’s international scale, including it’s 2,500+ strong ‘Croudie Network’ of on-demand digital experts, the agency can better serve clients in the luxury sector, helping them reach and engage new, affluent audiences across the globe. The acquisition will also help expand Croud’s capabilities in digital web design and development, and influencer marketing.

The deal takes Croud’s combined headcount to more than 340 staff working across Croud’s offices in London, Shrewsbury, New York, Los Angeles, and Sydney, and Verb’s offices in London, Manchester, New York, and Shanghai. It follows Croud’s acquisition of impakt Advisors’ New York-based team earlier this week, to help further strengthen its data solutions offering.

“Chris and I have spent a lot of time together in the last few years, and I love his entrepreneurial spirit,” said Croud Co-founder and CEO, Luke Smith. “He, Ben and the team at Verb have built something quite unique – a digital-first luxury agency. The post-pandemic tailwinds in the direction of digital have been felt in the luxury sector more than almost anywhere. Verb brings some new skills in which we’re looking to expand our capabilities, namely web design and influencer marketing. Allied to this is the cultural fit of our businesses – we care about the same things, including putting staff first and exceptional delivery for clients. We’ve taken our time to carefully select this acquisition, now we can’t wait to get going.”