The worst deal of the 20th Century?

The $124bn ‘deal’, which defined the frenzied boom years, saw Time Warner swap its out of favour old media assets for preposterously overvalued AOL stock.

It wiped billions of dollars off the company value and led to thousands of jobs losses.

Talking to CNBC news channel, Levin said he was “very, very sorry” for the pain and suffering caused to people who lost out, and called on chief executives responsible for the credit crunch to do the same.

"I take responsibility. It wasn’t the board. It wasn’t my colleagues at Time Warner. It wasn’t the bankers or the lawyers, and there were a lot of them. I am not going to blame any predecessors or successors. I helped pick them and I have great respect for them," he said.

"I presided over the worst deal of the century, apparently, and it is time for those involved in companies to stand up and say, ‘You know what, I am solely responsible for it, I was the CEO, I was in charge’."

Pedantic questions about which century the year 2000 falls in aside (it belongs to the nineteenth), Levin has some sharp contenders for worst deal of the century, And as the Telegraph points out, even of the year.

It saw Vodafone’s ill-fated swoop on Mannesmann, France Telecom’s grab for Orange and Vivendi’s purchase of Seagram. Remind yourself of these appalling decisions here.

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