The Auckland Rugby League's move to acquire the New Zealand Warriors has come to an abrupt end.
ARL chairman Cameron McGregor confirmed on Tuesday the deal was off - despite reportedly agreeing on an asking price with current owner Eric Watson three weeks ago.
McGregor told Radio Sport's Reuben Mama the ARL's bid to take a majority share in the NRL club through the Carlaw Park Heritage Trust, had ended.
"I can confirm the contract is at an end. Quite simply we couldn't agree on terms with the Warriors," said McGregor.
"Both parties signed a confidentiality agreement, so we can't say more than that at the moment."
The breakdown in negotiations is a setback for the sport here, as it was hoped the ARL's acquisition of the Warriors would lead to much stronger pathways and better avenues for development, and improved alignment between the NRL operation and the amateur clubs spread across the region.
NZME reported earlier the ARL had begun the due diligence process and started a comprehensive appraisal of assets, liabilities and accounts through an accounting firm.
This was believed to be the final step before a sale and purchase agreement could be negotiated after the parties had apparently resolved a previous gulf between their respective valuations of the club.
"We're very, very disappointed. We spent a lot of time and money in our efforts and, yes we are very disappointed at this outcome. It wasn't what we were hoping for," McGregor said.
"We've indicated to the Warriors that we're open to negotiate with them at any stage [in future].
"Any new owner that does buy the Warriors is going to need and talk to us because we are very much an important part of any long-term success for the Warriors."
Auckland businessman Paul Davys pulled out of negotiations to purchase the club in August, citing a "confusing sale process".