Prudential, Manulife and Sun Life Financial are thought to be in the running to buy the British firm’s holding, which is expected to fetch at least $500m (£317m).
Aviva set up the business five years and spent $164m on a 49 per cent stake, leaving the group well placed to make a good return on its investment in one of Asia’s fastest growing economies. The unit is run as a joint venture with CIMB Group, Malaysia’s second-largest financial institution, which is also looking to sell some of its majority stake in the business.
Aviva declined to comment on the takeover process.
Earlier this year Aviva’s executive chairman John McFarlane announced a radical restructuring of the firm that will see almost a third of the firm’s 58 units sold of closed down.
Investors reacted warmly to the plan, pushing shares up by 40 per cent between June and September, but last week two leading analysts suggested that the stock market gains meant the firm was now fairly priced.