Manchester United’s Watkins nets millions in share sale

James Chapman & Co’s senior partner and lawyer to Manchester United has netted himself a tidy £2.5m after off-loading a million of his shares in the club.

Maurice Watkins, long-time lawyer to the Premier League football club where he is also non-executive director, was the largest shareholder in the company. Watkins sold a chunk of his shares last week, leaving him with 5m shares, or a 1.91 per cent stake, in the company.

The sell-off has sparked speculation that US tycoon Malcolm Glazer could make an offer for Manchester United after the businessman picked up a tranche of shares, including Watkins’ haul, lifting his shareholding to 18.25 per cent from 16.69 per cent.

However a sale would be heavily influenced Cubic Expression, the vehicle that holds 28.89 per cent in the football club and is owned by John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish businessmen who recently settled a huge row with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, over a horse.