Buffett Tops Reese Witherspoon as Charity Auction Draw

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., drew a top offer of $118,000 for an all-you-can-eat tour of a See’s Candies factory, with less than 3 hours left in the charity auction.

Bidding has climbed from less than $50,000 earlier today and $17,000 when it began on July 25. Buffett is among celebrities who are supporting auctions to benefit Communities in Schools of Los Angeles, a high school dropout-prevention program. The top offer for lunch with actress Reese Witherspoon was $6,000. Bidding is scheduled to end today at 4:20 p.m. in New York for the lunch and two minutes later for the candy tour.

Buffett, 82, has committed most of his wealth to charity and encouraged others to increase giving. He helped raise more than $15 million over 14 years for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation through an annual auction in which he joins the winner for lunch. Bidders for the See’s auction are vying for a half-day tour for four people at the Los Angeles factory.

“It’s an opportunity to see the iconic Oracle of Omaha in an unconventional setting,” Coppy Holzman, chief executive officer of Charitybuzz.com, which hosts the auction, said today in an interview. “Anytime Warren Buffett agrees to lend his name, and his time to a charity, it’s a really great thing.”

Buffett, the world’s third-richest man, will sign an autograph for the winner, who can take a photo, according to the website. The billionaire won’t be guiding the tour.

“Before or after your tour, Mr. Buffett will demonstrate the only acceptable way to eat a bonbon,” Charitybuzz.com said on its website.

Buffett bought See’s in 1972 at the urging of Berkshire Vice Chairman Charles Munger. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire announced plans in May to expand operations of the 92-year-old candy maker to new markets in the Midwest, South and East in the coming years.

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