Newcastle’s owner Mike Ashley and British businesswoman Amanda Staveley have met for the first time to discuss the sale of the Premier League club.
The duo met in an Indian restaurant in London last week, BBC Newcastle understands, after the investment firm run by Staveley – PCP Capital Partners – made a fresh offer of around £300m.
Newcastle are yet to comment, but they have not denied the meeting took place.
Ashley said in October he wanted to sell after 10 years in charge.
The businessman has been in America but is now back in England as talks continue between the two parties.
Any deal would need Premier League approval, which takes 30 days.
Staveley helped broker the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour in 2009 and it was reported she led Dubai International Capital’s £400m bid for Liverpool in 2008.
Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James’ Park, 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.
The club have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley’s 10-year reign and are currently 16th in the top flight after 16 games, having won promotion last season under Rafael Benitez.
They host Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday (19:45 GMT).
BBC Newcastle’s Newcastle United commentator Matthew Raisbeck
Mike Ashley has been willing to negotiate on price with any interested parties. Amanda Staveley, who attended a match at St James’ Park earlier in the season, is offering him a way out, and negotiations between the parties have been ongoing for a few weeks.
What a takeover means for the January window will be of particular interest to the club’s fans and Rafa Benitez. The Magpies’ boss was unhappy with their transfer business in the summer and is keen to receive funds to strengthen in a number of positions, with the team now dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Newcastle takeover: Mike Ashley meets Amanda Staveley over £300m bid