MIKE ASHLEY is on the verge of selling Newcastle for a knockdown £300million to a group led by Amanda Staveley.
Sources claim Ashley has reduced his £340m asking price and official paperwork shows a deal is close with a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium which involves Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
A key document indicates Ashley is so keen to complete a sale he is ready to lend money to Staveley, the financier fronting the takeover, so she can fund her ten per cent share.
It is understood the Premier League is in the process of conducting the owners and directors test on the Staveley-led group — the final hurdle before the transaction could proceed.
The nature of the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in the deal could give the Prem cause for concern.
But barring any last-minute changes of heart, the stage is set for Toon fans finally to get their wish and see Ashley leave the club after 13 years.
A number of important documents have emerged which confirm the proposed takeover is at an advanced stage.
They include the registration papers of a company set up in January.
The directors of JV1 are Staveley, Stephane Nayum and Mehmet Saydam — the latter two are close associates of brothers David and Simon Reuben, the billionaire British tycoons set to take a ten per cent stake.
Another Staveley company has entered into a separate financial agreement with a firm controlled by the brothers.
But the most significant paperwork concerns an agreement between St James Holdings — the Ashley firm which ultimately owns the club — and two of Staveley’s companies, PCP Capital Partners and PCP International Finance.
The document, filed at Companies House just before the Easter weekend, reveals that Staveley is effectively borrowing money from SJH in connection with a separate, secret Vendor Loan Agreement.
As security for the loan, Staveley’s companies are pledging some of the proceeds of a long-running court case against Barclays.
The Ripon-born businesswoman, 47, who made THREE offers for the club between November 2-17, 2017, is suing the bank for £1.6BILLION.
It relates to demands for commission plus interest after helping it avoid falling into public ownership in 2008.
Staveley helped set up the deal that saw Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour provide a £3.5bn bailout just weeks after she brokered his takeover of Manchester City.
Barclays are fighting her claim, which is yet to reach court.
But the VLA document claims Staveley’s companies will receive a minimum of £150m.
The terms of the loan security with SJH states any proceeds from the court case must be paid into specific bank accounts and a balance of £13m left in those until the debt is settled.
This suggests Staveley is putting £17m of her own money into the Toon takeover now and will pay £13m plus generous interest later.
Newcastle and the other parties in the proposed takeover declined to comment.