A financial firm headed by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley has tabled a formal takeover bid in the region of £300m for Newcastle United.
PCP Capital Partners has been in talks with club owner Mike Ashley for about a month, and a source close to the deal said an offer has now been made.
Newcastle are yet to comment publicly on the news, although a club source has disputed the value of the bid.
Ashley said on 16 October he wanted to sell after 10 years in charge.
He reportedly dropped the asking price to £380m in an attempt to complete a sale by the end of the year.
Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James’ Park since taking over in 2007, with some supporters regularly protesting about the way the businessman has run the club.
He bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. Their latest accounts – up to 30 June 2016 and before the club’s relegation to the Championship – showed a profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126m in 2015-16.
Staveley helped broker the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin-Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2009, and it was reported she led Dubai International Capital’s £400m bid for Liverpool in 2008.
Staveley, 44, helped broker Sheikh Mansour’s purchase of Manchester City in 2008.
She was spotted watching Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at St James’ Park last month.
Newcastle were promoted from the Championship under Rafael Benitez last season.
The northeast club regularly attract crowds of over 50,000, but their supporters have not had a trophy to celebrate since the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the precursor to the UEFA Cup).