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Just three years after it thundered into Hollywood with grand visions of streaming video on millions of its customers’ cellphones, AT&T is making a stunning retreat with plans to spin off WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery.
The blockbuster deal, announced Monday, will put CNN and the HBO hit “Succession” in the same corporate family as the reality television shows “Flip or Flop” and “90 Day Fiancé.” It will create the second-biggest media company in the country, by revenue, with a sprawling business that touches on streaming entertainment, movies, sports and cable news. The merged company, which could have a value above $100 billion, would rival behemoths like Disney, the biggest media company, as well as Netflix, the leader in streaming.
For the debt-saddled AT&T, the spinoff is an about-face from its $85…