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.
The 44-year-old watched Newcastle’s 1-1 home draw against Liverpool on 1 October.
The Magpies have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley’s reign.
After winning promotion last season, Rafael Benitez’s side are 11th in the Premier League after 12 matches.