The Big Food Group has written to shareholders in franchise grocery retailer Londis to urge them to vote against the company's proposed takeover by Musgrave, Ireland's largest food distributor and to back its own rival bid.

Big Food Group is reported to be staging a bid that would offer shareholders more than double the deal offered by Musgrave, while slashing the amount Londis directors would receive from the £20m (US$35.3m) offered by the Irish group to just £600,000, reported the Daily Telegraph on Friday.

Bill Grimsey, chief executive of the Big Food Group, is reported as saying: "We are not going to sit around and see an opportunity go past. […] We have always wanted to put in place a distribution network that can service a strong chain of neighbourhood stores."

Londis has postponed the EGM it had scheduled to discuss Musgrave's bid on 30 December.

The proposed transaction involves a total of 2232 stores located in the UK. Combined retail turnover is in excess of €1.4bn (US$1.7bn).