Mike Ashley receives formal bid for Newcastle United

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has received a formal offer for the club, Press Association understands.

Reports emerged this evening that Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners had tabled a £300m bid.

However, it is understood that while an offer has been made by one of the parties interested in mounting a takeover, it is significantly below that figure.

The ball is now in owner Mike Ashley's court as he decides whether or not to accept the first approach, having stated his intention to push through a deal before Christmas.

However, it remains to be seen just how far a man who famously drives a hard bargain is prepared to entertain the proposal currently on the table.

PCP is one of a series of prospective buyers to have signed non-disclosure agreements with the Tyneside club and entered into the process of due diligence.

The group, which is said to be worth between £28bn and £30bn, is headed by Staveley, who played a key role in Sheikh Mansour's takeover of Manchester City in 2008.

She caused something of a stir when she was spotted in the crowd for the Magpies' 1-1 Premier League draw with Liverpool at St James' Park in October, and although her presence was initially played down, the situation has developed significantly since.

Ashley, who has been at the Magpies' helm for more than a decade, last month engaged the services of city lawyer Andrew Henderson, who has acted on behalf of his businesses in the recent past, to handle the sale.

He is looking to finally offload a club he has twice put on the market before to no avail.

During the sportswear magnate's tenure to date, Newcastle have been relegated from the Premier League twice, although have bounced back at the first attempt on both occasions.

Ashley, who paid £134.4m for the business back in 2007, admitted during the summer that he could not provide manager Rafael Benitez with the finances he wanted to fully rebuild his squad.

The Spaniard's fears over the playing resources at his disposal have proved well-founded in recent weeks with the club having lost their last three league games to take the edge off a positive start to the campaign.

Benitez will hope for greater spending power in January, although that could depend upon a successful takeover.

News of the bid caused a flurry of excitement for fans who have been at odds with the owner for much of his reign, although it appears there could still be a long way to go.

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