FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Futata Co. President Takafumi Futata said Thursday the Kyushu-based menswear retailer has not decided whether to accept a tender offer from Aoki Holdings Inc., Japan’s second-largest menswear chain.

“We are contemplating” the offer, Futata told reporters four days before next Monday’s deadline, set by Aoki.

Konaka Co., the country’s fourth-largest menswear chain and Futata’s largest shareholder with a stake of some 20 percent, has urged it to reject the proposal. Konaka and Futata formed a business and equity tieup in January 2003.

Futata founder and adviser Yoshimatsu Futata said Thursday the decision lies with the current president, his son, and will approve a possible decision by his son to accept the integration proposal from Aoki.

Yoshimatsu denied a report that the company is divided over how to respond to the tender offer, but declined to say whether the company would be able to reach a decision before the deadline.

Futata Managing Director Nobuo Baba said the company has asked employees to refrain from trading in Futata stock to address concerns about possible insider trading. Futata is listed on the Osaka Securities Exchange’s second section.

Aoki announced the tender offer Monday, seeking to buy Futata shares for 700 yen each, compared with a closing price of 400 yen on Aug. 3. The bid price has been rising fast in the absence of sell orders since then.

Konaka has refused to sell its shares to Aoki.

Kenji Nakamura, executive managing director of Aoki, has said that even if Konaka does not respond to the tender offer, Aoki will try to acquire Futata via a stock swap.

Nakamura said whether Aoki proceeds with the tender offer “depends on Futata’s response. Konaka’s intentions do not matter.”

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