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Published: Saturday, 6/7/2014

Buffett auction gets $2.17 million winning bid from Singaporean


Warren Buffett’s annual charity auction raised $2.17 million, rebounding from a five-year low.

Singapore’s Andy Chua won the right to dine with the world’s third-richest man and bring as many as seven friends. He won the 15th iteration of the week-long event with a single bid, according to a page on eBay’s website.

Buffett, 83, has raised about $17.8 million with the auction for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation, which provides services for the poor. The event draws Buffett’s admirers because they want to spend time with a historic figure, said Mohnish Pabrai, who was part of 2007’s winning group.

“There’s a very simple, acceptable way to bribe him to a meal,” Pabrai said after last night’s auction was concluded.

No other details about Chua were immediately available.

“That’s a lot of money,” Glide founder the Rev. Cecil Williams, 84, said about Chua’s offer. “We’re happy, very happy.” Glide has an annual budget of about $17 million.

Last year’s winner, who chose to remain anonymous, paid $1,000,100 for the lunch meeting with Buffett. That compared with top bids of at least $1.6 million from 2008 through 2012. The first auction raised $25,000 in 2000.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has pledged almost all of his estimated $65 billion fortune to charity. His first wife Susan, who died in 2004, introduced him to Williams and Glide.

“I saw the transformative power of unconditional love and what they were doing,” Buffett said in a video posted on eBay’s website. “It really hit me.”

The investor met on April 23 with last year’s anonymous winner at New York’s Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Other previous winners include hedge-fund manager David Einhorn and Ted Weschler, who was hired by Buffett after making two record-setting bids.

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