Newcastle United's owner Mike Ashley. Image Credit: AP

Newcastle: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund is in talks to buy Newcastle United, the Premier League football team owned by British billionaire Mike Ashley, for about 340 million pounds ($445 million), Dow Jones has reported.

A final deal for the north east English club could be days or weeks away, Dow Jones said citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions. The potential buyer is the Public Investment Fund, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s key investment vehicle, along with a group of investors led by British financier Amanda Staveley.

Ashley, who founded Frasers Group Plc, is a serial buyer of ailing UK high street names from House of Fraser to Evans Cycles. He bought the football club in 2007 for 134 million pounds and has been struggling to offload it in recent years.

He put it up for sale as early as 2008 with fans of the club quickly souring on him following the departure of manager Kevin Keegan.