Guggenheim Digital Media CEO Ross Levinsohn
Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in Santa Monica, in September 2013.  Photograph by Patrick T. Fallon — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Did ex-Yahoo boss just make a play for Marissa’s job?

Jan 06, 2015

Dan Primack was a senior editor at Fortune from 2010 to 2016. He was also the author of Term Sheet, Fortune's daily newsletter about deals and dealmakers.

Ross Levinsohn came as close to becoming permanent CEO of Yahoo as possible without actually getting the job, after the tech giant's board passed over its interim leader in favor of outsider Marissa Mayer. Thirty months later, he arguably made a new push for the position.

During a CNBC interview earlier today, Levinsohn said the following:

"Honestly, I think Twitter should go buy Yahoo. If you separate Yahoo into the two businesses that it really is, a tracking company and an operating company, if you put Twitter and Yahoo together it would be the most powerful force in the media business."

All of this was in context of recent comments from SunTrust Internet equities analyst Bob Peck, who said there was a good chance that Twitter (twtr) CEO Dick Costolo would be out within the year, and that Levinsohn would be a sensible replacement (along with Google's Neal Mohan).

Levinsohn brushed off the "flattering" suggestion, saying that Costolo had done a fine job and that, were Costolo to leave, Twitter revenue chief Adam Bain would be a good successor. But he never said that he'd turn down such a job if asked. And, were Twitter to take his advice and buy Yahoo (yhoo), then Levinsohn would effectively get the job he wanted in the first place.

Well played Ross. Well played.

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