SEATTLE -- Global Leisure, confirming weeks of speculation, said it sold escorted tour company Maupintour to Lowestfare.com, a Las Vegas-based discount travel Web site controlled by Carl Icahn, former chairman of TWA.

Terms of the sale were not revealed.

A Global Leisure spokesman also confirmed that Los Angeles-based Jetset Tours, an airline consolidator owned by Global Leisure, is in negotiations to be sold to a Carl Icahn-controlled company.

However, it is not clear whether Maupintour, one of the most respected names in the escorted travel business, and Jetset would be part of the same company if the sale is completed, the spokesman said.

Ravi Rao, Seattle-based Global Leisure chief executive officer, said his company's strategy in selling Maupintour is to focus on FIT package brands.

Lowestfare.com is headed by Ken Swanton, former Carlson executive and Internet Travel Network (now GetThere.com) chief executive officer.

The firm could not be reached to discuss plans for Maupintour and Jetset.

The sale of Lawrence, Kan.-based Maupintour comes after a period of upheaval for Global Leisure.

The company was one of the first "roll ups" in the industry when it was created in early 1997 after Sunmakers founder Bob Brennan sold it to Seattle businessman Mike Lavigne.

Lavigne hung on to the company for two years, selling it earlier this year to Genesis Diversified Investments, owned by Southern California businessman Ramy El-Batrawi.

El-Batrawi entered the industry when he bought the Jet Vacations name from Air France four years ago and brought in Rao, a former Air France district sales manager, as president.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI