Clothing designer and marketer Jones Apparel Group Inc has made a second unsolicited takeover bid for Maxwell Shoe Co, this time taking its offer directly to the footwear group's shareholders.

Jones, which is still offering $20 per share in cash for Maxwell, made the tender offer through its MSC Acquisition Corp subsidiary.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Jones and MSC requested preliminary consent to solicit written consent from Maxwell's shareholders allowing the deal to go ahead.

The request included permission to ask shareholders to nominate "five highly qualified individuals" to replace members of the shoe designer's board of directors.

Based on Maxwell's 14.8 million outstanding shares of Class A Common Stock, any such deal would be worth about $297 million.

"While we still prefer to move forward with Maxwell on a cooperative basis, Maxwell's refusal to meet with us to discuss our proposal has left us no choice but to take our offer directly to Maxwell's stockholders," Jones CEO Peter Boneparth explained.

"Maxwell's stockholders will now have the opportunity to decide the future of their company for themselves.

"This offer provides an outstanding opportunity for Maxwell's stockholder to maximise the value of their investment in Maxwell."

The tender offer is scheduled to expire at midnight on April 19.