Monday, July 2

This Buffet lunch is no bargain

Even before Warren Buffet gave his groundbreaking donation last summer, he had been raising impressive sums of money by offering himself up for a power-lunch through an annual auction.

It started in 2000 through a live auction and became an annual ritual. The winner, along with as many as seven other people, will get to share lunch and a private conversation with Buffett at the upscale steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky in New York City. The proceeds go to the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit organization which has an annual budget of $12 million.

In 2005 the lunch went for $351,100. Last year, a businessman from China paid more than $600,000 to dine with the Oracle of Omaha.

This year, two investors put in the winning bid of $650,100. Mohnish Pabrai, who manages about $600 million for Pabrai Investment Funds in Irvine, Calif., teamed up with a friend to bid $30,000 more than the top bid from last year's auction. The 43-year-old investor said he bid unsuccessfully in the previous four auctions.

Pabrai (pictured above) first bid $201,000 in 2003. Since then, he’s bid $202,000, $300,000 and $502,000. I guess if at first you don't succeed...

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