Newcastle United: Mike Ashley in talks to sell club to billionaire Sheikh Khaled
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is in talks to sell the club to Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE billionaire's investment group has said.
Sheikh Khaled, a relative of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, failed with a £2bn takeover of Liverpool last year.
It has been reported the deal for Newcastle is worth £350m.
The Bin Zayed Group said it has agreed terms and hopes to complete the deal "at the earliest opportunity".
Walsall-born Sports Direct owner Ashley, who bought the club in 2007, put it up for sale in October 2017.
Newcastle finished 13th in the Premier League this season under manager Rafael Benitez, whose contract expires on 30 June.
"We can confirm the representatives of his Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club," the statement read.
"We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club."
Ashley, 54, has been a divisive figure at St James' Park, and put the club up for sale in 2008 and 2009, while talks with businesswoman Amanda Staveley ended in January 2018.
Some supporters have regularly protested about the way the businessman has run the club and he has been criticised for a lack of investment in the transfer market.
He bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007 and the club has been relegated twice from the Premier League during his tenure.
In December, Ashley said he was "hopeful" the club will be sold to "an owner that will please everybody".