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I bought two spirits stocks after British exit vote: Billionaire Mario Gabelli

The meltdown in global stock markets following the surprising British vote to leave the European Union created buying opportunities, billionaire value investor Mario Gabelli told CNBC Tuesday.

"You have a ripple effect. The market reaction on Friday was a combination of what happened before and what happens next. Then you look for companies ... that have been beat up," the chairman and CEO of Gamco Investors said on "Squawk Box."

Gabelli revealed he "nibbled at a few because they were just thrown out mercilessly."

"If you can find somebody in the U.K., that is located in the U.K., their expenses are U.K., and they sell something in a U.S. [dollar] country. You get the translation benefit. That's very powerful," Gabelli said. "I [also] happened to like companies that have pricing power that can do well in a global marketplace. So we're buying Diageo," the $65 billion, London-based spirits giant.

He said he also bought smaller Italian beverage maker Davide Campari Milano with about a $5.2 billion market capitalization. "I was just in Milan a couple of weeks ago seeing [Campari]. They're buying Grand Marnier. They added Wild Turkey. That's when I first started because we did all the bourbon companies."

Gabelli said he was waiting for the right prices to buy the stocks, and the Brexit vote reaction happened to be the catalyst. "Value investors look at Mr. Market and the opportunity to give you a better margin of safety and better upside," he said.