American International Group Inc has started talks with potential investors to sell stakes in its Asian life insurance business AIA ahead of AIA's planned IPO, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Several financial investors, including Temasek Holdings , China Investment Corp and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority have expressed interest in buying cornerstone stakes in AIA, they added.

Earlier, the Financial Times said in a report that AIG may place as much as 30 percent of AIA with institutional investors and wealthy tycoons, rather than offer them minor stakes in an initial public offering.

AIG is aiming to list AIA on the Hong Kong stock exchange by the fourth quarter of this year and the IPO is expected to raise about $15 billion.

Some preliminary talks have taken place in response to interest from some investors, one source said.

The sources declined to be identified as the talks are private.

AIG is set to name Citigroup , Deutsche Bank , Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as the joint global coordinators for the IPO, sources have previously told Reuters.

Temasek declined to comment, while other institutions named in this story could not be reached immediately for comment.

Chinese insurance companies and some of that country's largest banks are also looking at taking stakes and financing others, the newspaper said.

AIG spokeswoman Christina Pretto declined to comment.

An IPO of AIA, whose full name is American International Assurance, could raise about $15 billion, and help AIG pay down sums owed to the U.S. government after a series of federal bailouts.

Shares of AIG closed on Wednesday down $2.35, or 5.8 percent, at $37.84 on the New York Stock Exchange in a weak overall market.

(Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in SINGAPORE; Reporting by Denny Thomas and Kennix Chim in Hong Kong, Maria Aspan and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Gary Hill and Muralikumar Anantharaman.)