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Published: Thursday, 7/9/2009

Canadian investment firm revealed as top bid for Buffett lunch


OMAHA - A Canadian investment firm paid $1.68 million in last month's charity auction to win lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

The Glide Foundation, which receives all the auction proceeds, said yesterday that Salida Capital of Toronto won the auction. Salida Capital CEO Courtenay Wolfe said the auction offered a unique opportunity to sit down with one of the world's greatest investors.

Mr. Buffett annually auctions off a lunch to benefit Glide, which provides social services to San Francisco's homeless and poor.

Salida Capital will be able to send eight people for the lunch with the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway

Inc., which owns more than 60 companies and has major investments in others.

The owners of the Smith & Wollensky restaurant in New York contributed $10,000 to Glide and again will host the lunch.

Mr. Wolfe said he plans to bring along a handful of his firm's biggest supporters. Salida Capital is marking its 10th anniversary this year, and Mr. Wolfe said it has recovered well from last year's difficult market, so the time seemed right to bid.

"Lunch with Warren Buffett is something we have always had on our 'dream list,' " Mr. Wolfe said.

Mr. Buffett's late first wife, Susan, introduced the billionaire investor to the Glide Foundation. Mr. Buffett has said he enjoys being able to help Glide because he's never found another charity more effective at lifting people out of despair.

Salida Capital's bid is less than the record-setting $2.1 million bid that won last year. That 2008 bid on lunch with Mr. Buffett was the most expensive charity item eBay had ever sold.

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