Since reports began to swirl around a possible sale of True Value Company — or at least the consideration of such a move – the Chicago-based co-op’s CEO has downplayed the story as “rumor.”

But that hasn’t stopped rival co-ops from weighing in with their own statements.

Cross-town rival Ace Hardware Corp. says it would be interested in bidding on True Value, if it were possible. And Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Do it Best Corp. says it is “considering the opportunities potentially available with our competitor,” as it pointed to its own past success in merging with Our Own Hardware in 1998.

The possibility of a sale of True Value, along with a possible sale price of $800 million, first appeared in a Bloomberg News report last week.

John Hartmann, True Value’s president and CEO, downplayed the reports of a sale in a statement that was shared on a popular Google Group comment board.

“The bottom line is this: you and your fellow stockholders own the company and nothing could be done without your say,”…