Buffett lunch raises US$1m

Bloomberg

Sun, Jun 09, 2013 - Page 13

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s annual lunch auction, a fundraiser for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation, raised about US$1 million, the lowest amount in six years.

The event drew 106 bids from eight people as it concluded on Friday night in San Francisco, according to EBay Inc’s Web site.

The winner, who was not immediately identified, and seven companions get to dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York.

“I was surprised,” said Glide founder Cecil Williams, who said he had expected the offer to top last year’s record of US$3.46 million. “The most important thing is that the US$1 million can be used effectively.”

Glide and Williams were introduced to Buffett, 82, the world’s third-richest man, by his first wife, Susan, who was a volunteer for the group. The charity serves meals and provides social services to the poor through a church known for its music-filled Sunday services in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

“There’s all kinds of people that need that kind of help, and I don’t think anybody is better at providing it than Glide,” Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said in a statement sent by Glide.

Buffett has helped raise more than US$15 million for Glide in the past 14 years.

The investor has also promised to donate his fortune to charity and has sought similar commitments from other billionaires under the Giving Pledge campaign.

Buffett draws thousands of people to Omaha, Nebraska, for Berkshire’s annual meetings, fielding questions on finance, public policy and life.

His stock picks and company acquisitions built Berkshire into a US$284 billion firm that sells insurance, operates retail businesses, runs a railroad and manufactures goods from chemicals to building materials.