Celebrity title OK! magazine plans to launch a Spanish language version in Madrid by the year end.

The plans are a cheeky piece of brinkmanship by UK publisher Northern & Shell (N&S) against Hola!, Spain's top selling gossip magazine.

N&S already sells its UK edition in Spain but the Spanish language edition will have a 500,000 print run.

Hola!, owned by Eduardo Sanchez Junco, launched an English edition in the UK 16 years ago. Hello! became an instant success with its diet of non-controversial stories about royalty, superstars and the jet set.

Ultimately it attracted a series of imitators, the earliest and most successful being OK! Sales of Hello! stand at 350,374 compared with a circulation of nearly 571,000 for OK!

N&S has recruited Christian Toksvig, a former executive with Metro International, to help with the Spanish launch.

The company is planning to trial OK! in Beijing and is reputedly considering an entry into the US market where it would face huge competition from People Illustrated published by Time Inc.

N&S is owned by Richard Desmond, the headline-making media mogul who is also proprietor of Express Newspapers.

Desmond dropped out of the bidding for Conrad Black's newspaper empire, but his recent jibes about another contender, German publisher Axel Springer, caused an international furore.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff