The dispute between the two families that own Arnotts ended in a 'cordial' manner today when Chairman, Richard Nesbitt, bought out the O'Connor family's stake for over €40 million.

That values Arnotts, which is carrying around €400m worth of debt, at around €160m.

In May, the O'Connor family, which owns just under 25% of the Arnotts business, offered €200m for the company amid disagreement over the direction and management of Ireland's oldest department store.

However, Nesbitt, who owns 58% of the company, and whose family owns the balance of the shares, rejected the bid.

The offer was dismissed as a stunt by the Nesbitts who counter offered for a much lower price to buy the O'Connors 25% stake in the company.

The two sides apparently disagreed over €750m property redevelopment of a stretch of the north city centre between Henry Street and Parnell Street.

Richard Nesbitt said today the O'Connor family has made a significant contribution over three generations in helping to make Arnotts a leading retail outlet in Ireland.

Michael O'Connor, former chairman of Arnotts, said :'We are very happy with our decision to exit the company at this time and are happy that the deal has been concluded in a cordial and friendly manner'.

Mr Nesbitt said today Arnotts is entering into an exciting stage of its growth with the proposed development of the 'Northern Quarter' of Dublin.

Richard Nesbitt is the fourth generation of his family to be involved with Arnotts.

His great-grandfather Alexander Nesbitt first joined the company at the age of 16.