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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Lunch With Buffett Worth $1.7 Million This Year

As mighty as this recession is, it cannot completely kill Warren Buffett's annual charity lunch.

Last year, before everything blew up, the winning bidder paid $2.1 million for lunch with Uncle Warren, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and lead director of The Washington Post Co.

This year, the bidding on eBay (no kidding) closed at midnight on June 26 and, as of late afternoon that day, was up to only $600,000, which made sense given the dire state of the economy.

But today, Buffett revealed that Canadian wealth management firm Salida Capital won the auction with a bid of $1.68 million, short of last year's number, but not that short.

Which means that plenty of folks still believe Buffett's counsel is valuable. They probably view the lunch not as recreation but as a business expense.

Last year's winning bidder, fund manager Zhao Danyang, paid $2.1 million to share a Diet Coke with Buffett. Zhao attributes his fund's strong performance over the past several years to tactics he's learned from Buffett, the king of value investors.

The proceeds from the auction benefit the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco's charity that offers job training to the poor.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is down 10 percent for the year, which is a worse performance than the S&P 500, which is down about 3 percent since January 1.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  July 8, 2009; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Warren Buffett  
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