(Reuters) -E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc is in early talks with three tobacco giants for a potential sale, strategic investment, licensing or distribution deal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company, which was reportedly looking to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, have had separate discussions with Philip Morris International Inc, Japan Tobacco Group and Altria Group Inc, the report said.

Juul, partly owned by Marlboro maker Altria, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In late September, Altria exercised the option to be released from its non-compete deal with the Juul almost four years after buying a 35% stake in the company.

A deal is not imminent and the discussions may not result in a sale or partnership, the people told the Journal on Wednesday.

Last week, Juul secured preliminary court approval of a $255 million settlement resolving claims by consumers that it deceptively marketed e-cigarettes.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)