Morgan Stanley has approached asset management companies in the past two months to gauge their interest in buying or forming a partnership with its Van Kampen mutual fund business, people with knowledge of the talks said.

The banking company, which based in New York, told at least one would-be bidder it was discussing a transaction in which it would gain a stake in Invesco Ltd. of Atlanta, according to one of the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were confidential. Nuveen Investments Inc. and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC were among those approached, the people said.

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