Updated from 7:10 a.m. EST

Shares of

American Online

(AOL)

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were moderately lower Monday following reports that the company is looking to acquire the 50% stake in

AOL Europe

owned by German media company

Bertelsmann

(BTG:FRA).

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AOL Europe, which has an estimated value of $10 billion-$12 billion, is a joint venture between the two companies that operates dial-up Internet services and is expanding into wireless Internet services.

An AOL spokesperson refused to comment on reports of the deal, which appeared first in

The Observer of London

on Sunday.

AOL shares were down 7/8, or 2%, at 56 15/16 around midday Monday. Shares of Bertelsmann were up 8.3 euros, or 4.3%, at 200.8 euros in late Frankfurt trading. (AOL closed down 13/16, or 1.4%, at 57.)

Bertelsmann is believed to be seeking to sell its stake in AOL Europe because it competes directly with

Time Warner

(TWX)

in various areas. AOL announced last month that it would acquire Time Warner.

While AOL itself might be the most likely suitor for the 50% stake in AOL Europe that it doesn't already own, there is also speculation that AOL would like to keep some portion of AOL Europe in the hands of a European company.

Some European companies have already shown interest, such as German wireless company

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

, which has already talked to Bertelsmann about buying the stake, and French utility

Vivendi

(VVDIY)

, which has also expressed interest.

Separately, AOL Europe announced Monday that it had formed a partnership with

Ericsson

(ERICY)

,

RTS Wireless

and

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

to develop and test AOL Europe's wireless Internet services for use on various European wireless networks.