The WarnerMedia-Discovery deal could have gone very differently.

After its $100 billion deal to purchase Time Warner, and spending thousands and thousands extra to struggle a Justice Department lawsuit that delayed the deal, AT&T needs a do-over. This reversal culminated within the announcement final week that it will spin off WarnerMedia, as the previous Time Warner is now recognized, to merge with the reality-TV large Discovery.

In the three brief years since AT&T closed the deal to purchase Time Warner, AT&T radically upended the enterprise by reducing workers, angering the expertise and firing executives and changing into one thing of a Hollywood villain. Some of WarnerMedia’s most profitable executives, together with Richard Plepler of HBO, left or have been pushed out. The firm lower greater than 2,000 jobs.

It could have been totally different if a telephone name in 2016 had come just some weeks earlier, in accordance with the DealBook e-newsletter. In October that 12 months, shortly earlier than Time Warner and AT&T first introduced their deal, Robert A. Iger, the chief govt of the Walt Disney Company on the time, positioned a name to Jeffrey Bewkes, the top of Time Warner, in accordance with two folks conversant in these particulars.

The Disney chief requested Mr. Bewkes if he’d be interested by a potential merger. It was too late, Mr. Bewkes mentioned: There was already one thing within the works. Mr. Iger wished him properly and hung up the telephone. Later, Mr. Iger known as one other media chief within the hopes of forging a deal. It was Rupert Murdoch.