Last Warren Buffett lunch auction fetches $3 million early bid

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FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett walks through the exhibit hall as shareholders gather to hear from the billionaire investor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) -A last chance for bidders to dine with Warren Buffett has garnered a $3 million early bid, as the 91-year-old billionaire auctions a final lunch to raise money for a San Francisco charity.

The Berkshire Hathaway Inc chairman has since 2000 raised more than $34.2 million for Glide, a nonprofit that offers meals, shelter, HIV and hepatitis C tests, job training and children's programs to the poor, homeless and substance abusers.

Buffett's first wife Susan, who died in 2004, introduced him to Glide after volunteering for the charity.

This year's auction began on Sunday night on eBay and will end on June 17.

The winner and as many as seven guests will dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Manhattan.

Almost all subjects are fair game, apart from Buffett's current and future investing plans.

The auction is Buffett's 21st, but the first since 2019 because of the pandemic.

Bidding started at $25,000, and reached seven figures within eight hours. Only four people had placed bids by 1:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, including the $3,000,100 high bid.

Past winners include cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, who paid a record $4.57 million in 2019, and money manager Ted Weschler, who won the 2010 and 2011 auctions and later became a Berkshire portfolio manager.

Steaks -- a Buffett favorite -- cost $57 to $78 per person at Smith & Wollensky, before tax and tip. Wine costs $50 to $12,005 a bottle.

Despite having donated about half of his Berkshire shares since 2006, Buffett was worth $106 billion on Friday, making him the fifth richest person worldwide, according to Forbes magazine.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Deepa Babington)