(Updates with details)
PARIS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - French insurer AXA has been approached by a number of players interested in doing a deal with its asset management arm, but continues to regard the business as a strategic asset, the unit's chief executive said in an email to staff.
AXA had been in talks with French banks, such as BNP Paribas and Natixis, over a possible tie-up in asset management, aiming to build a business with at least 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) of assets under management, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.
Under new chief executive Thomas Buberl, AXA has been looking for ways to boost profitability at its asset management business, which has been hit by falling fees and rising costs.
The email sent on Thursday by AXA Investment Managers' Chief Executive Andrea Rossi seeks to reassure staff over the future of the fund management business within the group, but did not explain the unit's future strategy.
"These (press reports and rumours) come in the context of a consolidating asset management sector in which the group has been approached by a number of parties interested in considering a potential transaction with us," Rossi said in the email, seen by Reuters.
"I wanted to let you know that Thomas Buberl has confirmed that the group continues to view AXA Investment Managers as one of its strategic assets," he said.
The email said that AXA IM would continue working in the coming weeks on strengthening its strategic road map and on focusing on operational priorities.
"It is now time we all go back to what we do best, delivering great investment services to our customers," it said. (Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Adrian Croft)