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Warren Buffett offers employees ultimate March Madness challenge


Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is sponsoring and funding a bracket contest for its employees this year, with Warren Buffett offering a prize of $1 million per year for life to any Berkshire employee or an employee of its subsidiaries who gets every pick in the first two rounds of March Madness correct.

The employee with the most correct picks wins $100,000. A tie means they split it.

“Think of it as the ultimate 'office pool,' with the parent company providing the prize,” Mr. Buffett said in a memo to Berkshire managers explaining the contest rules.

Each March, 68 teams are selected for the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, known as March Madness.

The “lollapalooza prize,” according to Mr. Buffet is won if “a single entrant has a perfect bracket to the round of 16, there will be the sweet award of an annuity paying $1 million a year for the remaining life of that entrant.”

In other words, the bracket would have every game outcome called correctly through the first two rounds of forty-eight games so that it has all the correct teams remaining in the final 16.

“If they go through two bracket tests and make it to the 'Sweet Sixteen' they get a million dollars a year for life,” Mr. Buffet told CNBC hosts on Feb. 29.

Berkshire Hathaway has approximately 361,000 employees.

Prize indemnity insurance is provided by National Indemnity Co., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Prize indemnity insurance providers get a premium that varies depending on the odds of someone winning. National Indemnity insures prize amounts up to $1 million.

In 2014, Berkshire insured a March Madness contest open to the public that offered the winner $1 billion for pickling a perfect bracket. In all of these contests in the past nobody has ever picked all 63 games correctly.

The details of the contest were sent out in a memo from Mr. Buffett to his managers. No news release was published by the company about the contest.