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[NEW YORK] Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has once again agreed to have lunch this year with the winner of an auction to benefit a San Francisco charity.
The 16th annual auction to benefit Glide, which provides food and services to the poor and homeless, will be held on eBay from May 31 to June 5, the charity said on Tuesday.
Past auctions have raised about US$17.8 million, including a record US$3,456,789 from an anonymous bidder in 2012. Last year's winner, Andy Chua from Singapore, bid US$2,166,766.
Other winners have included hedge fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, and Ted Weschler, now a portfolio manager at Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Weschler won two auctions, bidding US$2,626,311 in 2010 and US$2,626,411 in 2011.
As in past years, this year's winner and up to seven friends will have a private lunch with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Manhattan.
The auctions began in 2000 after Buffett was introduced to Glide by his first wife, Susan, who died in 2004.
Glide was co-founded by the Rev Cecil Williams, a community leader and longtime pastor at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. "Glide helped me understand just how much a life can be transformed by unconditional love and some real material help," Buffett said in a statement provided by Glide.
Buffett is worth about US$71.8 billion, ranking third worldwide, Forbes magazine said on Tuesday. He has run Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire for 50 years.