As bidding for the last-ever chance to lunch with Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO Warren Buffett reached the $3 million mark, the investing legend himself announced a $4 billion giveaway in stock to charity.
Buffett will donate the proceeds of 14,412,000 Berkshire B shares
— converted from 9,608 A shares
— between five foundations, the company said on Tuesday. The biggest amount, more than 11 million shares, will go to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, followed by more than 1.1 million to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and the rest to the Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett and NoVo foundations.
Buffett, who has vowed to give away 99% of his fortune, now owns 229,016 A shares and 276 B shares worth more than $95 billion. He has donated more than half of his stake in the company.
Meanwhile, the bidding was heating up for the last annual luncheon with the Berkshire chairman, and the first since a two-year hiatus from the pandemic, with all proceeds going to Glide, a San Francisco-based charity that helps the homeless.
The winning bidder and up to seven guests for the Buffett lunch, which has raised more than $34 million to support Glide, will dine at one of his favorite restaurants – Smith & Wollensky in NYC.
auction that began Sunday with a starting bid of $25,000, reached $3,000,100 as of Wednesday, involving 8 bidders so far. Bidding will close Friday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time.
While bidding tends to heat up towards the last day, the total is so far well below the record $4.57 million paid by Justin Sun, founder of cryptocurrency company TRON in the last luncheon before the pandemic. That amount surpassed a prior record paid of $3,456,789 to dine with the investing legend.
The bidding also coincides with a particularly difficult time for investors, with inflation worries driving the S&P 500 index
to a bear market and expected to push the Federal Reserve to a possible 75 basis point interest rate increase on Wednesday. Not untouched by a market rout, Berkshire shares have dropped 7% year to date.