OMAHA, Neb. (
) -- It doesn't take a federal subpoena to win a lunch date with
, but it does require cutting a big check for charity.
Friday, June 11, is the last day in the annual
-hosted "Power Lunch with Warren Buffett" charity auction.
For the honor of dining with the Oracle at the New York City steak house Smith & Wollensky, the top bid as of midday Friday was a touch more than $1.5 million -- $1,500,100 to be exact.
The highest bid ever placed for the Buffett lunch, which occured during 2008's auction, just before the financial collapse gathered steam, was $2 million. Last year's winner paid $1.7 million.
With less than 12 hours left in the bidding, this year's auction would seem to suggest that the value of Buffett's company -- not as in Berkshire Hathaway, but as in Buffett's company at the table -- is on the wane. (The first bid of more than $1 million came only on Friday, though four would-be participants decided the better of it and retracted offers of $2 million apiece.)
For all you literate capitalists who may not have a million or two in cash lying around, don't worry. There's another way to grab a chance at exchanging witticisms with Warren Buffett. Just send him a letter -- but make it good.
Last Thanksgiving, New York hedge fund manager Cara Goldenberg, of Permian Investment Partners, was invited to Omaha for dinner with Buffett after she wrote a letter that impressed the most revered American capitalist.
The Warren Buffett charity lunch auction ends at midnight Friday. As of midday Friday, eBay had received 57 bids. The winner is allowed to bring along seven guests for filet mignon and folksy wisdom.
Proceeds from the auction benefit the
, a 45-year old Bay Area group focused on poverty and homelessness.
Buffett was most recently in the news when he testified before the Congressionally mandated Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission about the role of rating agencies in triggering the housing bubble and recession. Buffett had rebuffed the commission, which was then forced to bring him to the table with a subpoena.
Do we hear $1.6 million?
Place Your Bid to Dine With Buffett
Win a Lunch with Warren Buffett
-Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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