Billionaire investor Mario Gabelli slams stock promoters, touts batteries, and discusses his Berkshire Hathaway bet in a new interview. Here are the 14 best quotes | Markets Insider

Billionaire investor Mario Gabelli slams stock promoters, touts batteries, and discusses his Berkshire Hathaway bet in a new interview. Here are the 14 best quotes

Theron Mohamed
Jul. 14, 2021, 09:57 AM
Chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors, Inc. Mario Gabelli speaks at the Reuters Global Investment Summit in New York, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Mario Gabelli.
  • Mario Gabelli questioned SPACs, touted batteries, and slammed pump-and-dump schemes on Twitter.
  • The Gamco Investors chief told young people to work hard, save, and invest.
  • Gabelli reflected on his lucrative Berkshire Hathaway investment in the mid-1980s.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Mario Gabelli blasted pump-and-dump schemes on Twitter, warned that special-purpose acquisition vehicles (SPACs) vary greatly in quality, and trumpeted battery technology in a recent RealVision interview.

The billionaire fund manager and head of Gamco Investors also reflected on his mistakes, advised young people to save diligently and outwork their rivals, and discussed his lucrative bet on Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway more than 30 years ago.

Here are Gabelli's 14 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. "Inflation is like toothpaste. Once it gets out of the tube, it's going to be very hard to put back in." - quoting Dr. Karl Otto Pohl, the former president of Germany's Bundesbank, who Gabelli met in the early 1990s.

2. "I find it offensive that somebody can do this on social media." - criticizing stock promoters and pump-and-dump schemes on Twitter.

3. "If you drink it - wine, water, beer, soda, whatever - we follow. Anything you watch, anywhere in the world, on any device, and any content or distribution, we cover it. We cluster up our knowledge and try to figure out, 'Does this make sense?'" - emphasizing the scale of GAMCO's industry research.

4. "They think I'm always mad. Let's stipulate that as a constant." - commenting on Wall Street's reaction when he began investing overseas in 1989.

5. "Knock on their door. You can't do that on a Zoom call. You want to ask a lot of questions. You want to understand how quick the answers are. You want to know how thoughtful they are in terms of handling dynamics of change and handling the simple things. 'You've got a parts shortage. What are you doing about it? You've got a labor shortage. What are you doing about hedging the currency?'" - encouraging investors to speak to companies' management.

6. "Think of me as a relic of the past, but one that will do quite well over the next 20 years. My window is narrowing but I still have some runway." - defending his ability to keep performing at age 79.

7. "The great future is in batteries. When you think about investing over the next 10 to 20 years, we need renewable energy, we need wind, solar, alternative energy, batteries, cybersecurity, and transmission, but the batteries are an important element. The electric vehicles of the world need to have a fast-charging battery with longer mileage as well."

8. "I wear hair shirts all my life." - recalling the opportunities he's missed including Netflix, which rose 20-fold in value after he decided it was too expensive to buy.

9. "The only time I bought Berkshire Hathaway was in 1985 and we still own it. It was like $3,000 a share." - Gabelli Funds held 220 of Berkshire's "A" shares worth $85 million at the end of March.

10. "It would have been nice to sit back and not do any work, retire, go fishing, watch football, and just own Berkshire Hathaway stock. Every so often, if I needed some cash flow, I would take a 1/1500th of a share and sell it. But we would probably get bored, and during certain periods of time, like 1999, the stock did not do well and our clients would have all fired us if that's all we owned."

11. "There's nothing wrong with being a bargain hunter. We check the price of everything we buy. Even if we go to Costco, my wife checks the price somewhere else."

12. "A lot of the SPACs have been dressed up for the stock market, and there have been a lot of less-than-optimal results." - Gabelli pointed to Nikola Motors as an example.

13. "Work from five to nine, your competitors are going to work from nine to five. Drink one less beer, one less coffee at an expensive coffee shop, and save the money each week. Then compound it at 2%, 4%, 6%, 8%, 10% over the next 40 years, and see what that gives you - economic flexibility." - Gabelli's advice to young people.

14. "You don't want to have wealth to have wealth. You want to have options, so that you can tell somebody what to do, as opposed to having someone tell you what to do. In addition to that, be passionate about what you do, because if you just want a job, you're not going to be happy."

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