An Alternate Reality for the WarnerMedia Deal

What if Time Warner had gotten a fateful phone call earlier in 2016?

By Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

What could have been

After its $100 billion deal to buy Time Warner, and spending millions more to fight a Justice Department lawsuit that delayed the deal, AT&T wants a do-over. The Times has the definitive account of the negotiations that led to the phone giant’s reversal — code names, emoji-speckled emails, artisanal doughnuts, a gun-toting Steve McQueen and a cramped Greenwich Village townhouse all play a part — culminating in the announcement last week that it would spin off WarnerMedia, as the former Time Warner is now known, to merge with the reality TV giant Discovery.

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