Warren Buffett’s annual charity auction, in which bidders compete for a chance to dine with the billionaire, drew a top offer of more than $1 million in the final hours of the weeklong event.
Bidding passed the $1 million mark at about 5:57 p.m. today in New York, according to the event page on EBay Inc. (EBAY:US)’s website. Offers almost tripled in value during the final minute last year, ending with a winning bid of $3.46 million.
Buffett, 82, the chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US), has pledged his fortune to charity. The world’s third-richest man, Buffett has also helped raise more than $14 million for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation with 13 years of lunch auctions.
“Warren Buffett is a person that we never thought would come along,” Rev. Cecil Williams, who runs Glide, said in a telephone interview. “What a great man, what a great gift and what a great commitment he’s given us.”
Williams’s 50th anniversary at Glide was celebrated last month by baseball’s San Francisco Giants. Glide serves meals and provides social services to the poor on an annual budget of about $17 million. The charity was brought to Buffett’s attention by his first wife, Susan, a volunteer for the group.
The auction ends at 10:30 p.m. today. The winner and seven companions get to dine with Buffett at the New York steakhouse Smith & Wollensky.
This week’s winner may pay more than $4 million, Mohnish Pabrai, who was part of a group that paid $650,100 in 2007, said in a telephone interview from Irvine, California.
Buffett has dined with last year’s winner, who chose to remain anonymous, the billionaire’s assistant said in an e-mail.
Glide Lunch With Warren Buffett Results: Year Winner Winning Bid 2000 Anonymous $25,000 2001 Anonymous $18,000 2002 Anonymous $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, China $2,110,100 2009 Salida Capital, Canada $1,680,300 2010 Ted Weschler $2,626,311 2011 Ted Weschler $2,626,411 2012 Anonymous $3,456,789
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