Cadbury Schweppes could reportedly be forced to delay or even abandon the sale of its US drinks arm because of a crisis in global debt markets.

The sale, which is being handled by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and UBS, could run into trouble after the banks were forced to lower the amount of debt available for the deal, according to reports in The Times.

The price tag for the business is believed to have dropped from initial estimates of £8bn to £7bn, the report added.

"The bottom line is the structure that we had before wouldn't have worked," a source told the paper.