Warren Buffett charity lunch fetches record winning bid of $19 million

Warren Buffett charity lunch fetches record winning bid of $19 million

BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR. Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett walks through the exhibit hall as shareholders gather to hear from the billionaire investor at Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 4, 2019.

Scott Morgan/Reuters

(1st UPDATE) An eBay spokeswoman says the lunch is the most expensive item ever sold on the company's website to benefit charity

A wealthy person has bid a record $19 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, June 17, far surpassed the previous record of $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, raised about $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 $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 and Bank of America.

Buffett still owns nearly 16% of the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate, despite having donated more than half of his shares since 2006, including $4 billion on Tuesday, June 14.

According to Glide, these bidders have won its auctions:

  • 2000: Pete Budlong, $25,000
  • 2001: Jim Halperin and Scott Tilson, $20,000
  • 2002: Jim Halperin and Scott Tilson, $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, Pure Heart Asset Management, China, $2,110,100
  • 2009: Courtenay Wolfe, Salida Capital, Canada, $1,680,300
  • 2010: Ted Weschler*, $2,626,311
  • 2011: Ted Weschler*, $2,626,411
  • 2012: Anonymous, $3,456,789
  • 2013: Anonymous, $1,000,100
  • 2014: Andy Chua, Singapore, $2,166,766
  • 2015: Zhu Ye, Dalian Zeus Entertainment Company, China, $2,345,678
  • 2016: Anonymous, $3,456,789
  • 2017: Anonymous, $2,679,001
  • 2018: Anonymous, $3,300,100
  • 2019: Justin Sun, $4,567,888
  • 2020-2021: No auctions held
  • 2022: Anonymous, $19,000,100

* later became a Berkshire Hathaway portfolio manager