Sunderland have confirmed that a proposed takeover has collapsed - and that Ellis Short will stay in control of the club.
The Black Cats had been in talks with a number of interested parties, including a German consortium and a group from the US.
But a deal has been unable to be struck, and as news of a move for Preston North End boss Simon Grayson broke, the club released a statement confirming the takeover had collapsed.
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."