* Proceeds to benefit San Francisco charity
* Prior record was $2.11 million in 2008
* Winner's identity not immediately known
By Elinor Comlay and Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, June 11 A bidder has agreed to pay
$2.63 million for a steak lunch with the billionaire investor
Warren Buffett in a charity auction held on eBay Inc's (EBAY.O)
The highest bid in the 11th annual auction topped the
previous record $2.11 million paid in 2008 by Zhao Danyang, a
Hong Kong investor. Wealth manager Salida Capital Corp of
Toronto won with a $1.68 million bid in 2009.
The identity of the winning bidder could not immediately be
determined after bidding closed Friday night.
EBay was not immediately available for comment. Berkshire
Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N), Buffett's insurance and
investment company, did not immediately return a request for
The winner and up to seven friends will dine with the
world's third-richest person at the Smith & Wollensky
steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. Smith & Wollensky is also
As in his increasingly frequent television appearances,
Buffett will talk about pretty much anything apart from what he
is buying and selling.
Proceeds benefit the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco
non-profit organisation offering meals, healthcare, child care,
housing and job training for the poor and homeless. Glide is
also known for lively Sunday morning services that include
Buffett began auctioning the lunches in 2000 after his
first wife Susan introduced him to Glide and its founder, the
Rev. Cecil Williams.
In a Friday interview, Williams said the auction was
critical to Glide because the economy has caused donations to
fall 20 percent this year, while demand for Glide's services
was up 30 percent. Glide's annual budget is about $17 million.
The auction began on Sunday night, and the top bid rose
from $1.8 million in the last hour. Nine bidders made a total
of 77 bids. Entering Friday, the highest bid had been $900,100,
according to eBay.
"I'm jumping for joy. There's no doubt about it," Williams,
80, said after the high bid had topped $1.5 million. "Warren
Buffett understands Glide and he supports Glide. I said to him
a week-and-a-half ago, 'You're such a good person,' and he
laughed and said, "Well you know, I'm trying, I'm trying.'"
The 10 prior auctions had raised more than $5.9 million.
The first three were live, with top bids ranging from $25,000
to $32,000, according to Glide.
Buffett, 79, built an estimated $47 billion fortune running
Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire, which operates about 80
businesses and has tens of billions of dollars of investments.
In 2006, Buffett pledged most of his wealth to the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities. Bill Gates,
a Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder, is a Berkshire director.
Susan Buffett died in 2004. Warren Buffett remarried two
years later on his 76th birthday.
The following are winners of the Glide auction since
bidding moved online:
2003 -- David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, $250,100
2004 -- Jason Choo, $202,100
2005 -- Anonymous, $351,100
2006 -- Yongping Duan, $620,100
2007 -- Mohnish Pabrai, Guy Spier, $650,100
2008 -- Zhao Danyang, Pureheart China Growth Investment
2009 -- Salida Capital Corp, $1,680,300
(Reporting by Elinor Comlay and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by