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$2.1 million buys lunch with Buffett on EBay

June 29, 2008|From the Associated Press

OMAHA — A Chinese investment fund manager won the chance to have lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett by bidding $2.1 million in the most expensive charity auction ever held on EBay.

Zhao Danyang of the Hong Kong-based Pureheart China Growth Investment Fund won the auction, which ended Friday evening with a bid of $2,110,100. A spokeswoman for the Glide Foundation, which receives the proceeds, identified the winner Saturday.

The auction will provide a significant boost to Glide, which provides social services to the poor and homeless in San Francisco. The foundation operates on a $12-million annual budget, spokeswoman Denise Lamott said.

"It almost feels like a miracle," Glide's founder, the Rev. Cecil Williams said in a statement. Last year's lunch brought in $650,100.

Zhao and up to seven friends will dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York City whenever the two men can schedule it. Last year's winners collected their prize only Wednesday.

Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is primarily known for his investing success. But he is also known for his philanthropy. In 2006, he announced his plan to give away the bulk of his nearly $49-billion fortune (which has since risen to $62 billion) over time.

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