An anonymous fan of Warren Buffett agreed to pay US$2,679,001 at an online charity auction to have lunch with the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The winning bid came in the closing seconds of the five-day eBay auction, which drew 41 bids before ending on Friday night. It was lower than the record US$3,456,789 bid in similar auctions in 2012 and last year.
The money is to go to Glide, a San Francisco charity that provides food, healthcare and other services to the homeless, the impoverished and people struggling with substance abuse.
The successful bidder and up to seven friends are to dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in Manhattan. All topics are fair game apart from where Buffett will invest next.
Buffett has held 18 annual auctions for Glide, raising about US$26.3 million. He became involved with Glide after his first wife, Susan, became a volunteer prior to her death in 2004.
“We are very delighted and proud that Mr Buffett has for years made sure that he participates,” Cecil Williams, 87, cofounder of Glide and pastor since 1963 of the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, said after the auction ended.
Contributions have a “tremendous impact” on people who find themselves “really unable to come to grips with the issue of poverty in urban America,” Williams said.
Glide uses its US$18 million annual budget to provide more than 750,000 free meals, emergency shelter for 8,500 people, 2,600 HIV and Hepatitis C tests and daycare and after school programs for nearly 450 children.
Buffett, 86, is the world’s fourth-richest person, worth US$76.2 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 has paid a combined US$5.25 million to win two auctions.
He later became one of Buffett’s investing deputies and along with fellow deputy Todd Combs is likely to oversee Berkshire’s stock investments after Buffett departs.
The lunches that fetched US$3,456,789 remain the most expensive items sold on eBay where all proceeds went to charity. Bidding moved online in 2003.
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
INVEST IN TAIWAN: A metal components casting firm and the world’s largest maker of aluminum bicycle rims also obtained approvals to join the program Solar Applied Materials Technology Co (SOLAR, 光洋應用材料), a part of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) “green supply chain,” has pledged to invest NT$1 billion (US$34.1 million) to build a new plant at the Tainan Technology Industrial Park (台南科技工業區), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. SOLAR has been collaborating with TSMC to extract precious metals from waste and reuse them as “sputtering target” material in high-end semiconductor manufacturing, a TSMC press release issued in May said. Established in 1978, SOLAR also offers key materials and integrated services to customers in the optoelectronics, information and communications technology, petrochemicals and consumer electronics industries,
‘SWARM TECH’: Joint venture FARobot is to develop autonomous mobile robots that would first be deployed in Hon Hai’s factories to optimize production efficiency Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Adlink Technology Inc (凌華科技) have formed a robotic venture that aims to use “swarm technology” to create robots that can communicate with one another on the factory floor to optimize production efficiency. Hon Hai is Apple Inc’s leading iPhone assembler and the world’s largest contract electronics maker, while Adlink supplies industrial computers and Internet of Things solutions. Through a subsidiary, Hyield Venture Capital Co (鴻揚創投), Hon Hai holds a 51 percent stake in autonomous mobile robot (AMR) developer FARobot (法博智能移動), while Adlink owns the remaining 49 percent. Together, the two companies put up NT$200