China man coughs up $2.1 mn to dine with Buffett

A lunch date with billionaire investor Warren Buffett was sold to a Chinese hedge fund manager yesterday for more than $2.1 million during an online auction, more than tripling last year's record of $650,100.

Zhao Danyang, who manages the Pureheart China Growth Investment Fund in Shenzhen, won the auction by bidding $2,110,100, said Denise Lamott, a spokeswoman for Glide Foundation. Glide, a San Francisco charity, will receive all proceeds from the auction.

It was Buffett's ninth annual auction to benefit Glide, and the fourth consecutive time the winning bid set a record. A total of nine bidders placed 78 offers over five days this week, according to EBay auction site.

Lamott said a crowd of Glide employees, board members, donors and others gathered to watch the results at a San Francisco hotel last night, and were jubilant. "There were screams, shouts — it was amazing in here,'' Lamott said in a phone interview.

Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, will entertain Zhao and seven companions at a New York steakhouse and answer virtually any question except what he is buying and selling.

He praised Glide, which provides services,including job training, medical care and 750,000 meals a year to the poor.

"It takes people who've hit bottom and brings them back,'' Buffett, 77, said in an interview before sitting down earlier this week with last year's winners. "`That's why we're here.''

No one answered the phone at the Pureheart offices in Shenzhen after the auction closed on Saturday morning local time.


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