Manager pays USD 2.1 mn to dine with Buffett | business | Hindustan Times
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Manager pays USD 2.1 mn to dine with Buffett

business Updated: Jun 29, 2008 08:57 IST

A Chinese investment fund manager won the chance to have lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett by bidding USD 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 that ended Friday evening with a bid of USD 2,110,100.

A spokeswoman for the Glide Foundation, which receives all the proceeds of the auction, identified the winner yesterday.

Danyang could not be reached on Saturday, and no one answered the phone at Buffett's Omaha office.

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 USD 12 million annual budget, spokeswoman Denise Lamott said.

"It almost feels like a miracle," Glide's founder Reverend Cecil Williams said in a statement. "We are amazed and ready to continue our work of breaking the cycles of poverty."

Last year's lunch brought in USD 650,100.

A group of Glide staff members and supporters gathered in a small hotel ballroom Friday to watch the auction results. Lamott said there were shouts of celebration when the bids topped USD 1 million.

"It was absolutely unbelievable," Lamott said. Danyang 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 just collected their prize on Wednesday.

The investment philosophy Danyang's fund describes on its Web site is similar to Buffett's approach of finding companies with an enduring competitive advantage that are selling for significantly less then they are worth.