Three potential buyers were said to be eyeing up parts of the collapsed crystal and china maker Waterford Wedgwood, according to media reports.

The historic firm, best known for Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood pottery and Royal Doulton, saw its Irish businesses put into receivership and its UK business put in administration after rescue talks collapsed at the weekend.

800 jobs in Ireland and another 1,900 in the UK are under threat as a result of the move.

Three US parties are said to be in discussion with Deloitte, the administrator of Waterford's UK business and the receiver in Ireland. The talks centre around the sale of the 'majority of the assets', the paper reported.

Waterford collapsed after talks over a possible sale to a US private equity firm failed to bear fruit and its lenders' patience ran out.

The company will continue to trade as a going concern and chief executive David Sculley is optimistic a buyer can be found but question marks hang over the future of the UK and Irish staff.

Waterford Wedgwood had struggled for years despite attempts to restructure the business, new product launches and more modern lines designed by stars such as chef Gordon Ramsay and designers John Rocha and Terence Conran.