Littlewoods bidder goes direct

The Barry Dale consortium that has made a pounds 1.2bn offer for the Littlewoods group has written to the shareholders in a final attempt to argue its case ahead of tomorrow's crucial emergency general meeting.

Mr Dale's advisers, Dawnay Day, have told shareholders that its bid is for the whole group and not a break-up bid. It also states that allowing the consortium access to the company's accounts does not commit shareholders to accepting the offer or any other proposal. It says it is happy for members of the Moores family, who control the company, to remain involved in its future.

Mr Dale, who is a former chief executive of Littlewoods, said: "I know we have some support from the family but we just don't know which way the vote will go." It is thought that even if the vote goes against Mr Dale tomorrow, the consortium will stay together and hope for another chance.

Mr Dale's proposals must now compete against a rival pounds 1.1bn offer made for the company this week by a group led by Sir David Alliance, chairman of Coats Viyella and the N Brown mail order company.

Both bids will be discussed at tomorrow's meeting. Peter Moores will propose two more resolutions. One will urge shareholders to consider all bids. The second proposes preparing a sales memorandum giving financial disclosure to potential buyers.