Warren Buffett charity lunch sells for $3.5 million


An anonymous fan of Warren Buffett agreed to pay $US2.68 million ($3.5 million) at an online charity auction to have lunch with the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

The winning bid came in the closing seconds of the five-day eBay auction, which drew 41 bids before ending on Friday night.

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It was lower than the record $US3.46 million bid in similar auctions in 2012 and 2016.

Money will go to Glide, a San Francisco charity that provides food, health care and other services to the homeless, the impoverished, and people struggling with substance abuse.

The successful bidder and up to seven friends will dine with Mr Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in Manhattan.

All topics are fair game apart from where Mr Buffett will invest next.

Mr Buffett has held 18 annual auctions for Glide, raising about $US26.3 million. He became involved with the charity after his first wife, Susan, became a volunteer, prior to her death in 2004.

Glide uses its $US18 million annual budget to provide more than 750,000 free meals, emergency shelter for 8500 people, 2600 HIV and Hepatitis C tests, and day care and after school programs for nearly 450 children.

Mr Buffett, 86, is the world’s fourth-richest person, worth $US76.2 billion according to Forbes magazine. He is donating virtually all of his fortune to charity.

Past auction winners have included hedge fund manager Ted Weschler, who paid a combined $US5.25 million to win two auctions. He later became one of Mr Buffett’s investing deputies, and along with fellow deputy Todd Combs is likely to oversee Berkshire’s stock investments after Mr Buffett departs.

Berkshire has more than 90 businesses in the insurance, energy, industrial, railroad, retail and other sectors. Mr Buffett owns about 18 per cent of the $US419 billion company.

The lunches that fetched $US3.46 million remain the most expensive items sold on eBay where all proceeds went to charity. Bidding moved online in 2003.

According to Glide, these bidders have won its auctions:

  • 2000: Pete Budlong, $25,000
  • 2001: Jim Halperin and Scott Tilson, $20,000
  • 2002: Jim Halperin and Scott Tilson, $25,000
  • 2003: David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, $250,100
  • 2004: Jason Choo, Singapore, $202,100
  • 2005: Anonymous, $351,100
  • 2006: Yongping Duan, California, $620,100
  • 2007: Mohnish Pabrai, Guy Spier, Harina Kapoor, $650,100
  • 2008: Zhao Danyang, Pure Heart Asset Management, China, $2,110,100
  • 2009: Courtenay Wolfe, Salida Capital, Canada, $1,680,300
  • 2010: Ted Weschler, $2,626,311
  • 2011: Ted Weschler, $2,626,411
  • 2012: Anonymous, $3,456,789
  • 2013: Anonymous, $1,000,100
  • 2014: Andy Chua, Singapore, $2,166,766
  • 2015: Zhu Ye, Dalian Zeus Entertainment Co, China, $2,345,678
  • 2016: Anonymous, $3,456,789
  • 2017: Anonymous, $2,679,001


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