Lingerie store owner Intimate Brands Inc has appointed a three-member special committee of independent directors to review an unsolicited $1.5 billion offer from retailer Limited Inc, and has asked shareholders to defer making a decision on whether to accept the offer until the committee has completed its review.

It was disclosed two weeks ago that Limited Inc wants to acquire the 16 per cent of Intimate Brands it doesn't already own. The tender offer is due to expire on March 11.

Intimate Brands, which owns lingerie giant Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, said Wednesday it has not taken a position on the proposal. Its review committee is receiving financial advice from Credit Suisse First Boston and legal advice from the law firm Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering.

The proposal offers to exchange each Intimate Brands share for 1.046 shares of Limited stock, giving the proposal an implied value of about $18.70 for each Intimate Brands share.

Some Intimate Brands shareholders have complained the offer is inadequate.

Limited spun off the 16 per cent stake in Intimate Brands in late 1995 for $17 per share. The stock climbed as high as the mid-$20s in 1999, but slumped to below $10 per share last fall before rebounding late in the year.