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Big-buck bidding is on for lunch with Buffett

It's true that Warren Buffett hired the hedge fund manager who won the last two private lunches with him that are part of an annual auction, but he doesn't expect the event to become a recruiting tool for Berkshire Hathaway.

Rather, Buffett says it's miraculous that he found one of Berkshire's two new investment managers through the lunch. He offered Ted Weschler a job after Weschler had paid nearly $5.3 million over two years to dine with Buffett, who is chairman of The Buffalo News.

"We're perfectly situated now in respect to money managers," Buffett told the Associated Press. Besides Weschler, Buffett has also hired Todd Combs to eventually oversee the company's investments when the 81-year-old Buffett is gone as part of Berkshire's succession planning.

Buffett said he just hopes the 13th annual online auction will again raise a significant amount of money for the Glide Foundation, which provides social services to the poor and homeless in San Francisco.

Bidding began Sunday on eBay and continues into Friday evening. Most of the big bids tend to arrive late in the auction. The previous four winning bids have all exceeded $2 million with new records set every year. Last year, Weschler paid $2,626,411. He did not respond to a message last week.

"It's gone way, way, way beyond my expectations," Buffett said. "We'll see what happens this year."

The auction provides a significant portion of the Glide Foundation's roughly $17 million annual budget. Buffett's late first wife, Susan, introduced him to Glide's founder, the Rev. Cecil Williams, after she became a supporter of the charity.

"We were really blessed to run across Warren Buffett years ago," Williams said.

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