Anonymous bidder pays $3.46mn to lunch with Warren Buffett

New York, June 11 (IANS) A charity auction for lunch with Warren Buffett drew a winning bid of $3,456,789 from an anonymous fan of the billionaire investor, matching the record amount collected in 2012.

Including this year’s haul, the auction has raised more than $23 million since 2000 for Glide, a San Francisco charity that works for the city’s homeless and poor residents.

Buffett was introduced to Glide by his first wife, Susie Buffett, who was a volunteer there and conceived of the charity auction idea. She died in 2004, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As in years past, the winning bidder will get to invite up to seven friends to dine with Buffett at Smith & Wollensky, a New York steakhouse. Buffett has said he usually spends three to four hours with the winner, but was happy to give them as much time as they want.

The first auction raised $25,000, but since 2008, donors have paid at least $1 million to dine with the investor. Conducting the auction on eBay has allowed wealthy Buffett acolytes from around the world to participate.

Last year, a Chinese online gaming company won with a top bid of $2,345,678, reflecting Buffett’s growing popularity in the country. In recent years, hundreds of Chinese investors have visited Omaha to attend the annual meeting of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The funds support Glide’s various programmes. The charity says that in a year, it provides 750,000 meals as well as rental assistance, legal counselling, afterschool care, emergency shelter and other services to thousands of people in the Bay Area.

The online auction opened on June 5 with a floor bid of $25,000. There were only four bidders and they picked up the pace on the last day, with the winning bid coming in just before the auction closed Friday night.

–IANS

ahm/rn

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