GAMCO Investors is a Rye, New York-based hedge fund run by billionaire investor Mario Gabelli. Mr. Gabelli’s net worth stands at $1.53 billion according to the Forbes list of the world’s richest people. In a recent broadcast on CNBC, the billionaire investor, who bets heavily on media stocks, talked about the activity in the industry, especially after the victory of Donald Trump in the Presidential elections. He talked about CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS), Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB), Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and we’ll run through his thoughts in this article.
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The media industry is currently under a lot of speculation amid Donald Trump’s victory. Trump’s plan to “drain the swamp” and introduce radical new changes to media regulation has concerned investors and industry giants. Mr. Trump labeled Net Neutrality as an “attack” on conservative media, and pledged to put a “temporary moratorium” on new regulations. But Gabelli is bullish on the industry, and thinks there will be a lot of consolidation activity in the next six months, and that we can expect several new mergers and acquisitions.
CBS Should Buy Viacom
Mario Gabelli said that he expects a new FCC chairman who will want the free market to function smoothly. The billionaire added that Shari Redstone, vice chairman of CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) and Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB), is a competent and practical person and that she did the “right thing” by starting at NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS, INC. and working her way down to media companies like CBS and Viacom. Gabelli said that the new interim CEO of Viacom, Thomas E. Dooley, has done a good job and increased the company’s footprint in emerging markets. Gabelli prefers CBS buying Viacom because he thinks Leslie Moonves is the right man to control the new company. Gabelli thinks Moonves is energetic, has good people skills, and understands the dynamics of the market. He added that Viacom has a strong global footprint, a factor which CBS lacks. At the end of the third quarter, Gabelli’s hedge fund reported ownership of 3.12 million shares of Viacom.
On the next page, we’ll discuss what Gabelli said about several other mergers or possible mergers, involving Apple, Disney, Netflix, and others.