Scraping together enough coin to win the annual luncheon auction with Warren Buffett is probably beyond most investors' means. With the proceeds going to charity, this year's winning bidder forked over $2.63 million for the privilege.

Feast or famine
While we likely can't afford to break bread with the greats, we can peek at their stock ideas through their SEC filings. Here, we'll pore over some of the top investors' reports to see which stocks they've chosen as their best investments. We'll then check in with Motley Fool CAPS members to learn whether they agree.

First, the caveats 

  • There's a delay between when the stocks were bought and when these investors filed their paperwork, so they might have sold out since.
  • These legends may be hot investors now, but that can change in an instant. Bill Miller was a wunderkind after beating the market 15 years in a row. Then he went cold for three. He came back in 2009, but we don't know what 2010 will bring.

Contrary to popular opinion
Fools should definitely do their own further research here. But in the meantime, let's take a look at well-known value investor Mario Gabelli, founder and CEO of money management firm GAMCO Investors, in which he owns owns a majority stake.

Fund: GAMCO Investors
No. of Stocks Owned: 909
Top 5 Holdings: Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), DIRECTV, Millipore, American Express, Deere
Top Sectors:
Industrials, Consumer Services, Consumer Goods

While many of the investing legends we've looked at have diversified portfolios, Gabelli's GAMCO is exceptionally so, so let's look closer at a few of his most recent choices.


Average Price

Current Price


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Biglari Holdings (NYSE: BH)





Madison Square Garden (NYSE: MSG)





WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX)





Source: GuruFocus and Motley Fool CAPS.

Price is what you pay
Did Charles River Laboratories (NYSE: CRL) investors dodge a bullet or miss out on an opportunity when they forced the pharmaceutical to break off a proposed $1.6 billion merger with Chinese biotech WuXi PharmaTech. Critics contended the price was too high, as were the risks, while the forecasted growth numbers of WuXi's business were fairly low on the credibility scale. Mario Gabelli may have been just as disappointed the deal didn't go through, but he may have the last laugh. WuXi raised its guidance slightly last quarter while Charles River saw revenues fall and had to pare back its own forecast.

Seeing a merger fall apart is all too familiar to investors in Biglari Holdings, which saw its attempt to bring Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP) into its portfolio disintegrate. Yet the mini-Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) has proven to skeptics why it's worth every penny of its high-flying stock. Revenues jumped 10% on the strength of the Steak 'n Shake chain, where comps and store traffic and the acquisition of the Western Sizzlin chain added to earnings, easily beating analyst expectations. It's the sort of opportunity CAPS member vetrisks is looking for: "A special opportunity as the company is run by activist investor / hedge fund manager with great turnaround potential."

A sporting chance
Moving from mergers to spinoffs, Madison Square Garden was spun out from Cablevision earlier this year, but some smart investors see this as an opportunity to buy into the world's largest sports market -- with ownership in the basketball Knicks and hockey Rangers franchises (hey, it's not as bad as it looks, they can always turn around!) -- at a very cheap price.

As Joel Greenblatt has noted, however, spinoffs often result in shareholders selling off their shares because they had no intention of buying that particular company and don't understand the value that might be locked within. We'll need to see who's still holding after the next report.

In the meantime, add the entertainment house to your My Watchlist page and receive all the Foolish news and analysis about this stock aggregated in one place.

Value is what you get
Become an investing legend yourself by starting your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and tell us whether these stocks are as good a value as these investing legends think they are.

Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Biglari Holdings, and Madison Square Garden. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.