Warren Buffett's charity lunch auction, an annual fundraiser for the Glide Foundation, attracted a record winning bid of $3.46 million on Friday as online bidding more than doubled the price in the last minute of the weeklong event.
The auction on EBay Inc.'s website attracted 106 bids. The winner, who wasn't immediately identified, and seven companions get to dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York.
The past two auctions were won by Ted Weschler, who was subsequently hired by Buffett last year to help oversee investments for Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Weschler bid more than $2 million each time.
Past winners of the auction have said they believe the time with Buffett was well worth the price they paid in the auction. The lunches often continue for several hours as Buffett answers their questions.
Buffett says many of the questions he gets at the lunches are about nonbusiness subjects such as family and philanthropy.
The auction has brought in more than $14 million in the past 13 years for Glide, which serves meals to the needy and runs a church in San Francisco's blighted Tenderloin district.
The billionaire investor was introduced to the Rev. Cecil Williams, the founder of Glide, by his first wife, Susan Buffett, a volunteer for the charity who died in 2004.
"I was suspicious when I heard my wife raving about this place in San Francisco," Buffett, 81, said in a video posted on the auction website.
"What I witnessed was an institution and an individual that really gave up on nobody. They took the people that the rest of the world had forgotten, people who'd given up on themselves, and they felt that every human being had a potential."
Buffett is chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns The Buffalo News, and chairman of The News.