Veteran investor Mario Gabelli is a bonafide media insider and a regular at investment bank Allen & Co’s Sun Valley retreat every July. So others take him seriously when he tells Barron’s readers to buy Viacom because Paramount will merge with Sony Pictures or Universal Pictures or someplace. “We hear talk of something going on,” he said this week during a 2009 mid-year roundtable. “Today there are seven or eight motion-picture studios. A round of consolidation will occur in the next six to 12 months because of the costs of financing, prints and advertising, the benefits of globalization and such.” I ran this by my Viacom sources who came back at me with a one-word response: “Nonesense.” Geez, Gabelli wouldn’t be saying something that vague and provocative just to stir up activity in his entertainment stocks like Viacom which are all in the crapper?
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