NEW YORK, June 18 ― A wealthy person has bid a record US$19 million (RM84 million) to eat lunch with Warren Buffett, in the 21st and final time that the billionaire businessman auctioned a private lunch to benefit a San Francisco charity.
The winning bid at the eBay auction, which ended on Friday, far surpassed the previous record of US$4.57 million paid in 2019 by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun.
Proceeds benefit Glide, a nonprofit in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district that helps the poor, homeless or those battling substance abuse. Glide offers meals, shelter, HIV and hepatitis C tests, job training and children’s programs.
This year’s winner chose 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, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, raised about US$53.2 million for Glide in the 21 auctions, which began in 2000.
“It’s been nothing but good,” Buffett said in a statement. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. The one universal characteristic is that they feel the money is going to be put to very good uses.”
No auctions were held in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Buffett began supporting Glide after his first wife, Susan, introduced him to the charity, where she had been volunteering.
Susan Buffett died in 2004.
Buffett has pledged to give away nearly all of his fortune. Buffett was worth US$93.4 billion on Friday, ranking seventh worldwide, according to Forbes magazine.
This year’s auction winner and up to seven guests will join Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Manhattan.
Buffett will talk about almost anything, but not where he may invest next.
Berkshire owns dozens of companies including the BNSF railroad, Geico car insurance, energy, manufacturing and retail businesses, and stocks such as Apple Inc. and Bank of America Corp.
Buffett still owns nearly 16 per cent of the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate, despite having donated more than half of his shares since 2006, including US$4 billion on June 14. ― Reuters