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Buffett Lunch Auction Tops 2013 Winner With One Day Left

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett uses the annual charity auction to raise cash for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation, drawing admirers and acolytes who want to spend time with the world’s third-richest man. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Warren Buffett’s annual charity auction drew an offer of more than $1 million, surpassing last year’s winner, with a day of bidding still to go.

The top bid for a lunch with Buffett was $1,000,700 as of 11:30 a.m in San Francisco, according to a page on EBay Inc.’s website. This year’s event began June 1 and is scheduled to end tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Buffett, 83, uses the auction to raise cash for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation, a provider of food and services to the poor. Last year’s winner committed $1,000,100. That compared with top bids of at least $1.6 million from 2008 through 2012.

“It’s a bargain at any price,” Mohnish Pabrai, who was part of 2007’s winning group that bid $650,100, said last month in an interview. “Generally speaking, the trajectory should be upwards.” The winning bid in 2000, the first year, was $25,000.

The auctions have raised $15.6 million for Glide, which has an annual budget of about $17 million. The event has helped expand the foundation’s donor base, said Glide’s founder, the Rev. Cecil Williams.

“We have contact from people all over the world now,” said Williams who joined the Glide Memorial church in 1963.

Buffett’s first wife Susan, who died in 2004, introduced him to Williams and Glide. The chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Buffett has pledged almost all of his estimated $65 billion fortune to charity.

Buffett met on April 23 with last year’s anonymous winner at New York’s Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Other previous winners include hedge-fund manager David Einhorn and Ted Weschler, who was hired by Buffett after making two record-setting bids. The winner gets to bring as many as seven friends for the meal with Buffett.

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