Naver shares dive as Facebook's buy of WhatsApp sparks concerns

SEOUL Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:49pm EST

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SEOUL (Reuters) - Shares of South Korea's Naver Corp (035420.KS), the operator of mobile messenger service Line, tumbled 8 percent on Thursday as Facebook Inc's (FB.O) plan to buy WhatsApp sparked worries about rising competition.

Facebook Inc will buy fast-growing mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock in a landmark deal that places the world's largest social network closer to the hot segment.

"The size of Facebook's acquisition of Whatsapp has surprised everyone, posing pressure to its global competitors including Naver Corp's Line," IM Investment & Securities analyst Lee Jong-won said.

(Reporting by Jungmin Jang and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Michael Urquhart)