Cadbury Schweppes has announced it has extended the timetable for the sale of its US drinks division as a result of the volatility recently experienced by the leveraged debt markets in the US. The company said that interest in the business, which is valued at £8bn, remains strong, and that it had extended the sale timetable to allow bidders to “complete their proposals against a more stable debt financing market”. Final round bids for the drinks division from a number of private equity consortiums were due in next week. It was thought that the sale process could run into trouble as the banks handling the sale were forced to lower the amount of debt available for the deal. Morgan Stanley, UBS and Goldman Sachs had originally agreed to lend on a multiple of 9.5 times Cadbury’s ebitda but as concerns over the collapse of the US sub-prime mortgage sector have spread to the leveraged loan market, they have been forced to drop the figure to 8.5 times. It is thought that the move has lowered the price tag for the drinks division by £1bn to closer to £7bn. Cadbury’s announced in March that it was planning to split its global confectionery and its US drinks divisions into two separate businesses to help unlock value for shareholders. A consortium including Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Lion Capital is thought to be bidding against a rival group, which includes Bain Capital, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H Lee. A third consortium is likely to include Cott Corporation, a Canadian company, which bottles beverages for Wal-Mart.