Some just agreed to pay $19 million for the right to have a lunch date with American investment legend Warren Buffett. The winning bid beat all previous records and is now the highest ever made to Buffett's annual auction.
Bidding began last Sunday at a starting price of $25,000. The winning bid was announced on eBay over the weekend after bidding was officially closed Friday. The bids sharply rose throughout the weekend as people fought to be on top. It is the 21st such bid and reportedly the last charity lunch event for the aging multi-billionaire investor.
Buffett's annual auction donates all proceeds to the non-profit organization Glide, which was introduced to him by his late wife, Susan Buffett. The organization mainly works to fight poverty in San Francisco, where people have struggled for years due to income inequality and rising homelessness.
The winning bidder, whose identity has not yet been disclosed, will be spending an entire afternoon with Buffett at a private lunch at the Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse in New York City. The winner will also be allowed to bring up to seven guests for the historic event.
The annual auction was canceled for two straight years, in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent pre-pandemic auction was won by Justin Sun, an American cryptocurrency entrepreneur who paid $4.6 million for the chance to dine with Warren Buffett, a vocal opponent of bitcoin.
Buffett, who is known as the "Oracle of Omaha" in the investing sector, said in an eBay statement that the auctions had allowed him to meet a lot of interesting individuals all around the world. He added that almost everyone he met believed that the money they paid to have lunch with him would be put to very good use.
Buffett joined Bill and Melinda Gates in a group of multi-billionaires who have pledged to give away half of their money. Buffett has promised to donate virtually all of his wealth when he passes.
Buffett was worth $93.4 billion as of Friday, making him the eighth richest person in the world. Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett's investment company, owns a variety of businesses in multiple industries, including the BNSF railroad, Geico car insurance, energy, manufacturing, and retail enterprises, as well as stakes in companies like Apple, Inc. and Bank of America Corp.
Despite donating more than half of his shares since 2006, including $4 billion on June 14, Buffett still controls about 16% of the Omaha, a Nebraska-based company.