The 2011 “Power Lunch with Warren Buffett” went for $2.6 million this year. The buyer chose to remain anonymous for now.
Buffett’s annual charity lunch (the proceeds goes to feeding the hungry through the Glide Foundation) basically allows the buyer to sit down with him over lunch for a few hours and talk about whatever they want.
So is a few hours out of Buffett’s time really worth $2.6 million?
Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of all-time. His understanding of valuation and individual businesses is unparalleled; they’re his investing bread and butter.
From a logical perspective, this is what the buyer should ask Buffett. They should present a company or industry to Buffett and ask for his recommendation. Or, they should just ask Buffett what he likes at the moment.
If the buyer is a big fund operator, a correct investment advice is worth well over $2.6 million. Hedge fund manager David Tepper, for example, made billions of dollars in 2009 alone by buying just a few US banking names.
The buyer can also ask Buffett macroeconomic questions.
Does he like China? What about Brazil? What about gold, Treasuries, and oil? Does he still believe in America?
The answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the last question is also yes. He doesn’t like gold, however. Indeed, many of Buffett’s macro views are already well-known. Moreover, even though Buffett is clearly proficient in macro calls, it’s not his biggest strength.
They could ask for Buffett’s secret sauce, but that’s also widely known. It’s essentially buying great companies whose earnings are predicable at reasonable prices.
There are still two more things you can get with the Buffett lunch: a relationship and prestige. David Einhorn and especially Zhao Danyang, two past winners of the lunch with Buffett, benefited in that way.