Footwear group Maxwell Shoe Co Inc has agreed to provide confidential financial information to prospective buyer Jones Apparel Group Inc as the two companies meet to discuss a possible merger.

While Maxwell rejected Jones' latest takeover offer of $333.9 million earlier this week, it agreed to meet with the clothing firm to discuss a potentially larger offer.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Maxwell signed a confidentiality agreement on Tuesday to give Jones proprietary information about its financial condition and operations.

In addition, Maxwell adviser Lehman Brothers met with Jones adviser Bear Stearns on Tuesday to determine whether Jones was willing to raise its offer.

Maxwell said it expected the two companies to hold further talks but said there was no guarantee a deal would be reached.