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Warren Buffett Lunch Auction Draws $3.3 Million Winning Bid

Updated on
  • Funds raised from auction benefit San Francisco charity Glide
  • Winner gets to have lunch with Buffett at Smith & Wollensky
Warren Buffet Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

The chance to dine with Warren Buffett costs $3.3 million this year.

That was the winning bid for a lunch with the billionaire investor in a week-long charity auction that concluded Friday on EBay Inc.’s website. This year’s price was short of the $3.46 million record, ranking third in the event’s history. For a third straight year, the auction’s winner asked to remain anonymous, organizers said.

Buffett, 87, has participated in the annual auction for almost two decades to benefit Glide, a San Francisco-based charity. The lunch with the investing guru generally brings in more than 10 percent of the organization’s budget and helps fund projects that address hunger, poverty and homelessness. This year’s auction will aid the charity, which has seen the demand for its services skyrocket, according to Glide’s President and Chief Executive Officer Karen Hanrahan.

“It was spectacular,” Hanrahan said of the auction in an interview. “This is just an extraordinary gift that Warren gives to Glide.”

The winner of the auction gets to bring seven friends to a lunch with Buffett at Smith & Wollensky in New York. In the past, top bidders have included hedge fund manager David Einhorn. Ted Weschler submitted the highest offer in both 2010 and the following year. He then scored a job with Buffett in 2011 and now helps oversee Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s investments.

Buffett’s known to draw a crowd for his advice on investing, and he fills an indoor convention center with thousands of people during his company’s annual meeting. As Berkshire’s chief executive officer and chairman, he’s built the company into a sprawling $475 billion corporation that touches areas from the railroad industry to insurance.

Bidding for this year’s auction started May 27 and was heating up through the middle of the week with a top bid reaching $2.9 million early on Wednesday. The competition later ticked higher, amassing a total of 136 bids.

“Glide really takes people who have hit rock bottom and helps bring them back,” Buffett said in a statement. “They’ve been doing it for decades. If I can help out by raising some money for them, then I enjoy doing it.”

YearWinnerWinning Bid
2000Anonymous$25,000
2001Anonymous$18,000
2002Anonymous$25,000
2003David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital$250,100
2004Jason Choo, Singapore$202,100
2005Anonymous$351,100
2006Yongping Duan, California$620,100
2007Mohnish Pabrai, Guy Spier, Harina Kapoor$650,100
2008Zhao Danyang, Pure Heart Asset Management$2,110,100
2009Salida Capital, Canada$1,680,300
2010Ted Weschler$2,626,311
2011Ted Weschler$2,626,411
2012Anonymous$3,456,789
2013Anonymous$1,000,100
2014Andy Chua, Singapore$2,166,766
2015Zhu Ye, Dalian Zeus Entertainment Co.$2,345,678
2016Anonymous$3,456,789
2017Anonymous$2,679,001
(Updates with bidder’s wish to remain anonymous, and quote from charity’s leader from second paragraph.)
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