Littlewoods plans bid meeting

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A crucial gathering of the Moores clan, which controls the Littlewoods retail and football pools group, has been scheduled for later this month, two weeks ahead of the emergency general meeting that will decide the future of the business.

The meeting, expected to take place in London, involves the get-together of Forum, the 32 family members who own the shares in the group.

However, this meeting assumes added significance as it is the last official family pow-wow before the EGM on 7 December where shareholders will decide whether to progress the pounds 1.2bn indicative offer for the group from Barry Dale, former chief executive.

Most family members are expected to attend the monthly meeting and some non-shareholding directors will also be present.

It is understood that members of the Dale consortium, which is being advised by Dawney Day, have been lobbying members of the family ahead of the Forum meeting to canvass support.

At the meeting, the family and the directors will be presented with the findings of two specially commissioned reports. One, undertaken by former Charterhouse chief Michael Gateneby, examines the options for future ownership of the business.

These include doing nothing, a trade sale, a stock market listing, or the sale of parts of the group to raise funds and improve liquidity. The other report, by accountants Coopers & Lybrand, examines the structure of the company, the role of the Moores family within the business and the role of non-executive directors.

It is believed the reports were commissioned by the board in June, before speculation of the Dale bid started.

At the EGM next month, the Dale consortium will need to gain more than 50 per cent of the votes to take its bid further.