ESH Acquisition Corp. Announces Closing of Initial Public Offering


Experienced leadership team seeking growing asset in the increasingly technology driven Entertainment, Sports, and Hospitality sectors

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ESH Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: ESHAU), a newly organized blank check company formed for the purpose of effecting a business combination, has announced the closing of its initial public offering resulting in gross proceeds of $115 million, including the full exercise of the over-allotment option. The company’s strategic focus is on Entertainment, Sports, and Hospitality (ESH) opportunities, including gaming, with an emphasis on the strategic deployment of innovative technologies in these industries.

“Our team has unique and deep entertainment, sports and hospitality sector experience and expertise.  Collectively, the knowledge base and operational excellence we possess as a group provides us unique strategic insights into brand and product positioning, as well as financing and growth strategies to enhance shareholder value of the acquired target,” said Jim Francis, CEO of ESH Acquisition Corp.


Adds Francis: “Because of our strong network of industry relationships around the globe – from leadership roles in global companies – we expect to quickly generate a pipeline of potential merger targets.”

ESH Acquisition Corp. has partnered with investment firm Ackerley Partners, LLC, as a key advisor. Following the sale of The Ackerley Group to Clear Channel Worldwide in 2002, Christopher and Ted Ackerley founded Ackerley Partners, LLC, a privately held investment firm with a primary focus on the media, entertainment and professional sports sectors.  Over several decades, Ackerley Partners and the Ackerley Family have owned all or a part of several professional sports franchises. Their professional sports ownership tenure includes franchises in the NBA (Seattle Sonics), WNBA (Seattle Storm), CISL (Seattle Seadogs), Major League Rugby (Seattle Seawolves), AHL (Coachella Valley Firebirds) and NHL (Seattle Kraken). With their strong operational history, the firm has utilized numerous strategic industry partnerships and alliances to source and co-invest in both early stage and growth stage companies including cable, gaming, software and sports franchises.

The ESH Acquisition Corp. team includes:

Al Weiss – Chairman

  • General Partner & Chairman of Global Blockchain Ventures Fund
  • Former President of Walt Disney World and Worldwide Operations for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts business. Was responsible for Disney Cruise Line, and retired after 39 years
  • Former consultant with Apollo Investment Consulting where he was involved in the acquisitions of Great Wolf Resorts, Club Corp, Chuck E Cheese and Diamond Resorts
  • Experience working as part of a SPAC management team

James Francis – CEO

  • Former President, CEO, and Trustee of Chesapeake Lodging Trust, a lodging REIT which he founded in 2010 and sold to Park Hotels and Resorts in 2019 for $2.7B
  • Prior to Chesapeake, founded and served as President, CEO, and Trustee of Highland Hospitality Corp., a lodging REIT through its sale in 2007
  • EVP and CFO of Crestline Capital Corp., a hospitality business with annual sales in excess of $4B, COO and CFO of its successor, Barceló Crestline Corp. (resulting from acquisition by Barceló Group) as well as 10+ years’ experience at Marriott International in finance, corporate strategy and brand management

Jonathan Morris – Chief Financial Officer

  • Investment Partner at TLG, a private equity firm which has been active in SPACs and SPAC PIPEs
  • Prior SPAC experience as CFO of Twelve Seas Investment Company II and Chief Development Officer of TLG Acquisition One Corp.
  • Over 23 years of experience as a finance executive as a principal, operator and advisor. Led principal investments and structuring at a large private family office
  • Served as an investment executive at Blackstone Group, Inc., from 2012 to 2016, and on the Board of SunGard AS, from 2014 to 2016
  • Formerly with Credit Suisse TMT Investment Banking Group from 2005 to 2012 and the private equity division of Lombard, Odier et Cie

Christopher Ackerley – Director

  • Co-founder and Managing Director of Ackerley Partners, LLC, a private investment holding company based in Seattle
  • Former President of The Ackerley Group, Inc., where he oversaw daily operations of the national media and entertainment company; successfully led the merger of the Ackerley Group, Inc. with Clear Channel Communications, Inc. 
  • Director or Advisor to several corporate boards including Washington Trust Bank, the Space Needle Corp., The Four Seasons Hotel & Residences – Seattle, and Solius, and previously served on the board of directors of Limeade
  • Minority owner and Executive Committee member for the Seattle Kraken of the National Hockey League

Thomas Wolber – Director

  • President and CEO of ROW Management Ltd. and former CEO of Crystal Cruises with over 30 years of experience in the hospitality and cruise industries
  • 28 years with The Walt Disney Company, former COO of Disney Cruise Line and former President of Disneyland Paris

Jonathan Gordon – Director

  • Co-Founder of Ruttenberg Gordon Investments, a multi-strategy investment firm. Entrepreneur and investor in a multitude of music and film companies
  • Founder of several music publishing, production, and management companies including 1916 MGMT, Rare Behavior, and Run + Gun

Christina Francis – Director

  • President of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Member of the Board of Directors of Citi Trends, Board of Trustees of Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Former Vice President of Marketing and Events for NFL PLAYERS INC
  • Experience in marketing roles for multiple Fortune 500 companies, including Walt Disney World, Nissan Motor Corp. and IBM

Ted Ackerley – Advisor

  • Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of Ackerley Partners, LLC, a private investment holding company based in Seattle
  • Former Vice President of The Ackerley Group, where he served on the Board of Directors and as head of investments
  • Executive Chairman of Audiosocket, an independent music licensing company
  • Executive Chairman of Subject Entertainment, a multi-media production company
  • Minority Owner Seattle Kraken and Board Member of MLR Seattle Seawolves

“Our team and Board of Directors have in-depth transaction experience across sectors and across different transaction structures, both domestically and internationally. Our experience in capital markets and SPAC transactions adds trust and credibility for potential merger candidates considering a transaction with us,” said Francis.

About ESH Acquisition Corp.

ESH Acquisition Corp. is a newly organized blank check company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. The company’s strategic focus is on Entertainment, Sports, and Hospitality opportunities, including gaming. For more information, please visit:

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. Such forward-looking statements, including with respect to the initial public offering and the anticipated use of the proceeds thereof and search for an initial business combination, are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements, including those set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of the preliminary prospectus used in connection with the Company’s offering filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Copies are available on the SEC’s website, No assurance can be given the net proceeds of the offering will be used as indicated. The Company expressly disclaims any obligations or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based, except as required by law.

For more information: [email protected]

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