Sunderland have confirmed takeover talks have collapsed - because a sale would 'not be in the best interests' of the club.
The Black Cats had been in talks with a number of interested parties, with a German consortium in pole position for a long time.
But a deal has been unable to be struck, with the club releasing a statement confirming the takeover had collapsed.
In it, Sunderland said that owner Ellis Short was only willing to sell if the group was better placed than he was to move the club forward.
And with the American deciding that wasn't the case, the plug was pulled and Sunderland made their move for Preston North End manager Simon Grayson.
The statement said: "Recently, we informed supporters that discussions were taking place with parties who had expressed an interest in acquiring ownership of Sunderland AFC.
"Subsequently, more detailed talks were held over the last week with one of these groups.
"Ellis Short and the board were committed to ascertain if this group was better placed to take the club forward in the right way and to improve it, both on and off the pitch.
"A defined timeframe was placed on discussions to ensure that the club could move forward quickly and decisively with its plans for the new season should they not come to fruition.
"We have concluded these talks and have determined that this proposed sale would not be in the best interests of Sunderland AFC.
"Ellis Short will continue his commitment to the club, both financially and personally, moving forward.
"We would like to thank our supporters for their patience during what we know has been a period of uncertainty and frustration for them.
"Preston North End have granted us permission to speak with Simon Grayson regarding the manager’s position."