‘Dirty Des’

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British employees of OK Publisher Richard Desmond have complained of dirty tricks from U.S. rivals, but the charge sounds strange when Mr. Desmond himself is known as "Dirty Des" in Britain. It is a sobriquet he picked up as he built a fortune on soft-core magazines like Asian Babes. Although he sold many of his titillating properties, his company still owns soft-core assets like Red Hot TV.

But Mr. Desmond's wealth (estimated at $1.2 billion) and comportment have met their limits on occasion. When his offer to buy the U.K.'s Telegraph Group last year failed, leaving a German company in the lead, Telegraph senior executives watched as Mr. Desmond launched into "Deutschland Uber Alles" and began goose-stepping. His assistant did not respond to a request for comment last week.

Mr. Desmond has promised to spend up to $100 million on the U.S. launch of OK.

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