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Rights to Buffett bio sell for over $7 million

Bantam Dell wins in bid to publish authorized work about billionaire
/ Source: The Associated Press

A bidding war for an authorized biography of the “ideas” of billionaire Warren Buffett has been won by the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc.

Tentatively titled “The Snowball: How Warren Buffett Collected Friends, Wisdom and Wealth,” the book is scheduled to come out in 2008. Several publishers were interested and a representative close to the deal said it was worth more than $7 million, although not as much as the reported $10 million to $12 million for former President Clinton’s “My Life.” Former General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch reportedly got $7.1 million for his best seller, “Jack: Straight From the Gut.”

“The Snowball” will be written by Alice Schroeder, a former insurance analyst at Morgan Stanley, where she met Buffett. This marks the first time a book will be written with his cooperation, but the contract was negotiated with Schroeder.

“Our deal is with her. She is the author,” Bantam president and publisher Irwyn Applebaum told The Associated Press Wednesday through spokeswoman Barbara Burg.

According to a statement issued Wednesday by Dell, the book will focus on Buffett’s business strategies. It will be based on the “thousands of hours” Schroeder spent with Buffett and on “unprecedented access to his files, friends and associates.”

The 75-year-old Buffett is considered of special interest both for his personal wealth, estimated by Forbes magazine at $40 billion, and his folksy style.

Buffett is known as the man who built a 1956 partnership of four relatives and three close friends into a holding company worth about $100 billion. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns insurance, soft drink, candy, furniture, restaurant and carpet firms.

Yet Buffett is also known to wear sweat pants and sweat shirts in his spare time. He is a longtime fan of hamburgers, french fries and Cherry Cokes, and enjoys bridge and playing the ukulele.