The row between the families who own the Dublin department store Arnotts worsened this afternoon.

The O'Connor family, which owns 25% of Arnotts, has criticised a decision by the board of the company today not to refer the O'Connor's takeover offer to all shareholders.

Chairman Richard Nesbitt, who controls 60% of Arnotts, has made it clear he has rejected the offer from the O'Connor family.

In a statement this afternoon Malpas Holdings expressed its 'disappointment' their €200m offer for the company was rejected.

It said: 'The decision is most surprising particularly as the offer values Arnotts at between €70m and and €100m above the valuation placed on the company by Richard Nesbitt, Chairman.'

It added that it intended to 'fully consider the implications of this decision by the board of the company for all shareholders.'

Richard Nesbitt fully controls Arnotts through a company called ART Limited. He has outright control and can't be bought out unless he wants to be.

Mr Nesbitt says if the O'Connors are unhappy and willing to sell their stake he is happy to have it valued and buy it.

The O'Connors own 24.7% of Arnotts. ART contols 65%, and Richard Nesbitt has a majority control of ART.