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Warren Buffett Becomes a Cheap(er) Lunch Date

Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway drinks a Cherry Coke during the Berkshire's 2009 shareholder meeting
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway drinks a Cherry Coke during the Berkshire's 2009 shareholder meetingPhotograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

How to explain the dramatic drop in bids for a lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett? An online auction for the chance to break bread with the Oracle of Omaha took in just over $1 million this past week. That’s the lowest price since investor Mohnish Pabrai and two friends won with a $650,100 bid in 2007, and an astonishing 71 percent discount below the $3.45 million paid by last year’s winner for lunch at a Manhattan steakhouse. This year’s winner—one of eight contenders—chose to remain anonymous. Proceeds go to Glide, a San Francisco charity supported by Buffett’s first wife for many years.

“It’s a sad day for Glide and for all of us,” Pabrai said Monday of this year’s more modest auction result. “Our hero got beat down.”