- Staveley and PCP Capital Partners made formal approach last month
- Ashley would be willing to listen to a fresh offer in the region of £300m
- The pair were pictured outside a low-key Indian restaurant in Hampstead
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was pictured with financier Amanda Staveley in London on Wednesday night.
The duo reportedly met for the first time to discuss a potential takeover of the North East club three weeks after Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners made an opening bid of around £250million.
Pictures of the meeting at a low-key Indian restaurant were published by the Sun.
Newcastle United over Mike Ashley has rejected a £250m takeover bid from Amanda Staveley
Ashley regularly dines at the Paradise restaurant in Hampstead, which is just a 20-minute drive from his family home in the leafy village of Totteridge in North London
Ashley will only sell Newcastle United to Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners if they make an improved offer of around £300m.
Sportsmail understands that their current offer of £250m is not acceptable and there has been a stand-off between the two parties since that was tabled nearly three weeks ago.
Ashley was pictured with financier Amanda Staveley in London on Wednesday night
But we can reveal that Ashley would be willing to listen if they returned with an extra £50m and there were no clauses attached to the deal.
Staveley is thought to be aware of claims that a second bidder is interested in buying the club.
However, it is unclear if any rival lined up by Sports Direct tycoon Ashley could pass the Premier League’s fit and proper persons test.
Hopes of the St James’ Park club being sold before Christmas appear to have faded
Insiders have also dismissed reports that Staveley and her Middle East and Chinese investment fund will walk away from the deal if Ashley does not accept their £250m offer within the next fortnight.
She remains keen to buy the club and Ashley is willing to sell, giving hope that a deal can be struck.
But we understand there will have to be an improved offer if there is to be progress, although the chances of a deal being done before Christmas – as Ashley prefers – have now faded.
Staveley, 44, would be the face of the club and make the key spending decisions if her proposal is accepted.