Warren Buffett plans final private lunch auction for charity

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

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

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

Every winning bid since 2008 has topped one million dollars, and Mr Buffett has raised nearly 34.5 million dollars (£27 million) for the charity over the years.

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

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

Mr Buffett has said he supports Glide because they help people in difficult situations find hope again in life. Glide provides meals, healthcare, job training, rehabilitation and housing support 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’s president and CEO Karen Hanrahan said Mr Buffett’s “friendship and generosity over the past 22 years have been invaluable” to the charity.

The weeklong eBay auction will begin on June 12 and continue through to June 17. The winner will get to bring up to seven people to eat with Mr Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in New York City.

The only topic that is off limits at the lunch is what Mr Buffett might buy next.

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