"The train, coming out of the station, starts very slowly, and then it builds up momentum," GAMCO's Mario Gabelli told CNBC.
As the economy rebuilds from the rubble, dealmaking will be very slow for a time, but the investment legend sees big things ahead. He was asked if it will be big companies marrying other big companies or swallowing small companies.
"All of the above," he replied.
Well, you can't buy "all of the above," so where does he think an investor should go?
"Can we buy a company that's selling below its cash value?" he asked, rhetorically, and pointed to Ascent Media, a company that emerged just last September.
"Here you can buy a management team that is better than private equity, total transparency, total liquidity, and you're buying it at a discount from the business," he said.
He is also interested in Textron and Liberty Media.
"You're finding more net-nets, similar to the (19)30s, than we've had in a long time," he said, on the subject of bargains. "That is, companies selling at cash discounts."
Here he mentioned GrafTech International.
"Every time you make a ton of steel, you have to put one of their consumables, carbon graphite, into the furnace," he explained.
"Three years, four years from now, they're going to...have products and technologies that will allow them to get a 15 multiple on peak earnings; you're talking about a stock going from 6 to 45."
Disclosure information for Mario Gabelli was not immediately available.