HomeBusinessWarren Buffett's charity lunch wins record $19 million bid

Warren Buffett’s charity lunch wins record $19 million bid

June 18 (Reuters) – A wealthy person has offered a record $19 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett, in the 21st and final time the billionaire businessman auctioned off a private lunch to benefit a charity in San Francisco.

The winning bid from the eBay auction, which closed on Friday, far surpassed the previous high of $4.57 million paid in 2019 by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun.

Proceeds benefit Glide, a nonprofit in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco that helps the poor, homeless, or those struggling with addiction. Glide provides meals, shelter, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, job training, and children’s programs.

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This year’s winner has chosen to remain anonymous. An eBay spokeswoman said the lunch was the most expensive item ever sold on the company’s website to benefit charity.

Buffett, 91, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), raised about $53.2 million for Glide in 21 auctions, which began in 2000.

“It’s been nothing but good,” Buffett said in a statement. “I met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. The universal characteristic is that they have a feeling that the money will be put to good use.”

No auctions took place in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buffett began supporting Glide after his first wife, Susan, introduced him to the charity, where she had volunteered.

Susan Buffet died in 2004.

Buffett has pledged to donate almost all of his fortune. Buffett was worth $93.4 billion as of Friday, ranking seventh in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

The winner of this year’s auction and up to seven guests will join Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Manhattan.

Buffett will talk about almost everything, but not where he might invest next.

Berkshire owns dozens of companies, including railroad BNSF, auto insurance Geico, energy, manufacturing and retail, and stocks such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).

Buffett still owns nearly 16% of the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate, despite donating more than half of its shares since 2006, including $4 billion on June 14.

According to Glide, these bidders won his 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

2019: Justin Sun, $4,567,888

2020-2021: No auction held

2022: Anonymous, $19,000,100

* later became a Berkshire Hathaway portfolio manager

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Additional reporting by Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio, Clarence Fernandez and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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