The lead story in the business section of the Sunday New York Times provides a little insight into the demise of the old, "new" AT&T, i.e., the 1996 - 2003 version I worked for.
The story concerns the demise of Dragon Systems, a voice technology company that merged with another high-tech flier in 1999 only to see its acquirer almost immediately file for bankruptcy. The owners of Dragon Systems -- who had been paid $580 million in then worthless stock -- lost everything.
Their investment bank for the deal was Goldman Sachs, which also happened to be AT&T's adviser on more than $100 billion of deals at around the same time. (Dragon asserts that their bankers were supervised by Gene Sykes, the same banker who was lead on AT&T's mergers and acquisitions, but Sykes denies it.)
In any case, the Dragon owners are suing Goldman for providing "unsupervised, inexperienced, incompetent and lazy investment bankers."
Goldman's defense is equally succinct. “We gave them great advice. We guided them to a completed transaction.”
Apparently, getting the deal done is the goal. Never mind if it doesn't make any sense.