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“SORRY” IS NOT a word you hear often in company. Japanese wrongdoers might bow in shame. In the West even architects of some of the world’s most amazing strategic blunders struggle to express regret. It took Gerald Levin, boss of Time Warner, a years to apologise for what he lastly admitted was “the worst deal of the century”– the $165 bn merger of the media giant with AOL, an internet firm, in 2001, during the dotcom crash. It was unravelled, ignominiously, eight years later on.
Who knows when– or indeed if– Randall Stephenson and his former lieutenant, John Stankey, will acknowledge how incorrect they were to mastermind the $110 bn acquisition of Time Warner by AT & T, which they completed in2018 The combination developed a business weighed down by big debts, a high dividend and difficult financial investment demands. A simple three years later on it, too, is being taken apart, with the media service drew out and merged with Discovery, another media company. Mr Stankey, who took over from Mr Stephenson as the telecoms giant’s manager last year, has actually bowed not in …
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