(Reuters) - An anonymous bidder has agreed to pay $3,300,100 at auction to have a private lunch with Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The winning bid came near the end of a five-day online auction on eBay to benefit the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco charity that serves people who are poor, homeless or battling substance abuse.
It was the third highest price in the 19 years Buffett has offered lunch, near the record $3,456,789 bid in both the 2012 and 2016 auctions. This year’s auction drew 136 bids from just six bidders before ending on Friday night.
The auction helps cover Glide’s $20 million annual budget, which goes toward providing roughly 750,000 free meals, shelter, HIV and Hepatitis C tests, job training, and children’s day care and after-school programs.
“Glide really takes people who have hit rock bottom and helps bring them back,” Buffett said in a statement.
Buffett, 87, has raised $29.6 million for Glide through the 19 auctions.
His first wife Susan, who died in 2004, introduced him to Glide after volunteering there. The Reverend Cecil Williams, 88, Glide’s charismatic co-founder, remains a minister at its affiliated church.
“The $3.3 million is an extraordinary gift, not just the money but the fact that Warren Buffett lends his name and reputation and shines a light on the work Glide does,” Glide’s president, Karen Hanrahan, said by phone. “Demand for our services is skyrocketing, in this city of innovation and wealth.”
The winning bidder and up to seven friends can dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in Manhattan.
Buffett will discuss anything apart from what he might invest in next.
Ted Weschler, a hedge fund manager, paid a combined $5.25 million to win the 2010 and 2011 auctions, and later joined Berkshire as one of Buffett’s investment managers.
Berkshire has more than 90 businesses in the insurance, energy, food and retail, industrial, railroad, real estate and other sectors, and also invests in companies such as Apple Inc, Wells Fargo & Co and Coca-Cola Co.
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
2018: Anonymous, $3,300,100
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Paul Simao
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