Bid Made to Buy Back Tzell Travel

NEW YORK CITY—Earlier this month, Tzell Travel Group's shareholders made a bid to buy back Tzell Travel from CNG Travel Group, which purchased the decades-old company four years ago. The $18 million buyout bid is expected to be approved this month, pending acceptance from at least 80 percent of shareholders at CNG, which is based in Ireland.  Barry Liben

In a recent sitdown with Travel Agent, Barry Liben, president and CEO of Tzell Travel, said he was a leading force behind the buyout offer.

Bringing Tzell Home

"We're all very excited about it," says Liben, adding that he and his management team sold Tzell in 2003 because it made good economic sense at the time. "But [running the company as a non-owner] didn't have the same feeling for me. We want to bring it home."

After taking the company private again, Liben says he plans to continue growing Tzell Travel Group, which is the fourth-largest travel agency in the U.S. Tzell currently has offices throughout Manhattan and branch locations in 10 states, and Liben says they'll continue to add new agencies all the time.

As part of the company's ongoing west coast expansion plan, Tzell recently acquired a major California-based travel entertainment company, All-Star Travel Group,which handles deluxe individual, corporate, group and entertainment travel out of new offices on

Santa Monica Boulevard
in L.A.

Liben has been president and CEO of Tzell since 1977.

"I'm loving what I do, and I want to keep doing it for another 10 years, at least," he says. —Debbie Strong