Ashley and his representatives have never publicly named their price for the club, but it is unlikely to be sold for less than £300m.
Sky Sports News understands that aside from purchasing the club, prospective buyers must also prove they have the funds to take the club forward.
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Newcastle have a bitter experience of relegation in recent years, having dropped down to the Championship twice since Ashley first invested in the club in 2007. Before their last relegation, for the 2015-2016 year, the club made a profit after tax of £4m on revenue of £126m. For the period, its matchday revenue was £25m, broadcasting brought in £73m, with commercial and other income at £28m. During the 2016-2017 financial year, in which the club played outside the top flight, Newcastle made an operating loss of £90m.