June 9, 2010 / 8:26 PM / 7 years ago

Buffett lunch draws $700,100 bid as pace quickens

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Someone has bid $700,100 to dine with billionaire investor Warren Buffett in an annual charity auction, putting the bidding far ahead of last year’s level.

<p>Warren E. Buffett,Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway, testifies before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission during a public hearing in New York in this June 2, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>

The auction on eBay Inc’s website generated 40 bids as of 4 p.m. EDT, with the highest bid rising from $200,100 on Tuesday and $51,000 on Monday.

The names of bidders are being kept confidential by eBay, which began the auction on Sunday night. The auction ends on June 11 at 10:30 p.m. EDT.

Proceeds benefit the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit that offers meals, healthcare, child care, housing and job training for the poor and homeless.

Buffett’s 10 prior annual auctions for Glide have raised more than $5.9 million, including a record $2,110,100 in 2008 and $1,680,300 last year.

Bids typically soar in the last hour or two of the auctions. Last year, the top bid had reached just $456,789, with fewer than 12 hours remaining before the auction ended.

This year’s winning bidder and up to seven others will eat a steak lunch with the 79-year-old Buffett on a date to be agreed at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York.

Buffett built an estimated $47 billion fortune through his insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. In 2006, he pledged most of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Gary Hill

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