A bidder pledged $2.68 million to a San Francisco charity in exchange for a lunch date with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The winner of the online auction that concluded Friday on eBay chose to remain anonymous. The final price fell short of last year’s $3.46 million winning pledge, which tied the previous record.
As in years past, the winner gets to bring seven friends to dine with Buffett, 86, at New York’s Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Proceeds benefit Glide, a San Francisco charity that serves meals to the homeless, hosts support groups for abuse victims through its women’s center and provides treatment for drug addiction.
The five-day auction attracted 41 offers, according to eBay. Just one bid was received all day Friday, and the high offer remained below $2.4 million, before the winning bid arrived in the closing seconds.
Glide was brought to the billionaire’s attention by his first wife, Susie Buffett, who volunteered for the organization. The lunch auction has become a fixture on his philanthropic calendar and a reliable money-raiser for Glide, bringing in more than $26 million for the organization since 2000. Buffett says the only topic that will be off-limits during lunch is what he might invest in next. He says he gets a wide range of questions.
Past auction winners have included hedge fund manager David Einhorn and Ted Weschler, who later joined Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to help oversee investments. Last year’s winner chose to remain anonymous.
Donors who don’t have seven figures to shell out can still make donations to Glide on eBay. Ten dollars provides a fried-chicken lunch for two, while $80 funds a 40-minute legal consultation.