The exec who lost his job to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer slams the company with a classic ‘Rocky’ quote

Ross Levinsohn is a former Yahoo executive who briefly served as the company’s interim CEO in 2012 – before losing the permanent job to current CEO Marissa Mayer.

Although he’s been out of the company for over four years, Levinsohn continues to make headlines over Yahoo’s sales process.

In April, he was reported to be a part of a group that had made a bid for Yahoo’s core internet business, which has been fielding offers since earlier this year. His bid, which was made in partnership with Bain Capital and Vista Equity Partners, is no longer in the running, Levinsohn said during an interview with CNBC on Monday.

Still, Levinsohn was brutally honest with his assessment of Yahoo during the interview, slamming the company and Mayer for failing to turn it around.

“I think the prediction is pain,” Levinsohn told CNBC, using the famous Mr. T comment from the movie “Rocky III.”

“The state is troubled, clearly,” he said. “I think we can look back over the last four years and say the strategy did not pay off.”

No announcement today

Levinsohn said that the final bids will likely come in on Monday but doesn’t anticipate Yahoo making any official announcements about the sales process during the company’s earnings call, which will also take place later Monday.

“I don’t expect an announcement today or, frankly, anytime too soon. Frankly, the whole process has been sort of a kabuki theater in my opinion,” he said.

Verizon, AT&T, and a number of private equity firms are still reported to be in the race for Yahoo’s core business. Depending on what’s included in the deal, such as its IP patents and real-estate properties, Yahoo’s expected to get a deal in the range of $3.5 billion to $5 billion, according to the latest reports.

Levinsohn believes Yahoo would be able to get $5 billion at most because there’s so much work to be done to fix the company. But he still had some nice words about the company that he almost ended up leading.

“The core of it, I think, is still fantastic – great people, terrific brands,” he said. “I’d love to have stayed. I’d love to still be there. But a lot of work ahead.”