Jun 10, 2013

    Lunch with Buffett sold for $1.2m

    THE yet-unidentified winner of an online charity auction will pay US$1 million (S$1.2 million) to lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett and friends, a relative bargain compared with last year's top bid that came in at more than three times that amount.

    The event raises funds for San Francisco-based charity Glide, which provides meals, shelter and other services for the area's poor.

    The annual auction for the chance to dine with one of the world's richest men had reached record price levels in recent years.

    Last year's winning bid was US$3.46 million, which topped the previous year's US$2.63-million top bid from fund manager Ted Weschler, who was later hired as an investment manager at Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

    This year's anonymous winner, who paid the lowest amount in six years, will have lunch with the 82-year-old Nebraska investor and up to seven friends at Smith & Wollensky in New York City.

    The five-day auction on eBay, which closed last Friday, received 106 bids.

    Mr Buffett has held 14 such auctions, raising more than US$15 million for Glide.

    The San Francisco Business Times reported the Reverend Cecil Williams, Glide's founder, as saying last Friday that there would likely be budget cuts as a result of the surprisingly low auction results.

    However, Rev Williams, speaking to Reuters last Saturday, said the quote was inaccurate, and that Glide would continue its fund- raising efforts to meet its US$17-million annual budget.