The much-anticipated merger deal between Vodafone and CK Hutchison's Three in the UK is on course to be finalized within weeks.

That is according to reports from the Mail on Sunday.

Feature: The UK’s next big telco merger - Vodafone and Three?

It follows similar reports from a month earlier, which noted that the merger is near as the final details are penned.

Talks between the two operators have been ongoing for six months and would see the UK's four mobile network operators slim down to three.

A merger between the two operators would be worth an estimated £14.5 billion ($17.5bn). Under the proposed plans, Vodafone would own 51 percent of the company, with Three holding the rest.

In the article by the Mail, it cites a City source that is critical of Jean-François van Boxmeer, former chief executive of Heineken, and current Vodafone chair since November 2020.

The publication notes that the source has labeled van Boxmeer as 'incredibly conservative' while accusing him of being behind 'a lot of the problems at Vodafone.'

If this deal is completed as soon as the reports indicate, then it's likely to be a busy period for Vodafone, which was linked last week with a $4 billion sale of its Spanish business unit.

The last 12 months have been busy for the operator, having also sold its Hungarian business unit and finally managing to shift a sizeable stake in its tower business, Vantage Towers.

Vodafone is still yet to replace former chief executive Nick Read since his departure at the end of last year, although Margherita Della Valle has stepped in on an interim basis.

The Mail notes Three's chief executive, Robert Finnegan, has admitted that the company's investment plans for its network 'would become unsustainable' if a deal was not agreed between the two companies.

Vodafone and Three were not immediately available for comment.

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