Warren Buffett plans final private auction for charity lunch

A chance to secure a spot at what is thought to be the world’s most expensive lunch is offered again this spring when investor Warren Buffett auctions off a private meal to raise money for a charity to California’s homeless one last time.

Mr Buffett, who is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, held the lunch auction once a year for 20 years before the pandemic hit to raise money for the Glide Foundation, which helps homeless people in San Francisco.

The auction has been on hiatus for two years, but Glide said the event will be restarted this year.

Every winning bid since 2008 has exceeded $1 million and Mr Buffett has raised nearly $34.5m (£27m) for the charity over the years.

Many of the past winners were investors who revere Mr. Buffett for his stellar track record of finding undervalued companies and stocks to buy for his conglomerate. But at the last auction, a cryptocurrency pioneer paid $4,567,888 (£3.5m) in 2019 for the chance to dine with Mr Buffett.

Mr. Buffett’s first wife, Susie, introduced him to Glide after he volunteered there. She died in 2004, but the connection endured.

Mr Buffett said he supports Glide because they help people in difficult circumstances find hope in life. Glide provides meals, health care, job training, rehabilitation, and housing assistance to the poor and homeless.

The 91-year-old billionaire did not immediately respond to questions about why he decided to end the auction after this year.

Glide President and CEO Karen Hanrahan said Mr. Buffett’s “friendship and generosity over the past 22 years has been invaluable” to the charity.

The week-long eBay auction will begin June 12 and run through June 17. The winner will be able to bring up to seven people to eat with Mr. Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in New York.

The only forbidden topic at lunch is what Mr. Buffett might buy next.

Mr. Buffett’s company owns more than 90 companies, including Geico Insurance, the BNSF Railroad, several major utilities and an assortment of manufacturing and retail businesses. Berkshire Hathaway also has large investments in companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, American Express and Bank of America.

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