Judge: Tully's Coffee to go to Dempsey's group

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm •  Published: January 11, 2013
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SEATTLE (AP) — The auction for the beleaguered Tully's Coffee chain concluded Friday in federal bankruptcy court, with a judge approving the sale to an ownership group led by actor Patrick Dempsey.

Dempsey — dubbed "McDreamy" in the hospital drama "Grey's Anatomy" — had claimed victory last week after bidding concluded, but a company that teamed up with Starbucks to make an offer for Tully's filed an objection.

AgriNurture Inc. had said it was still willing to proceed with its combined bid with Starbucks Corp. of about $10.6 million. The bid from Dempsey's company, Global Baristas LLC, was for $9.2 million.

At a hearing Friday afternoon, Judge Karen Overstreet said the Jan. 4 auction was fair and no mistakes had been made.

Dempsey said he was "thrilled that we prevailed."

"I've been deeply humbled by the outpouring of support from the city of Seattle and am very proud to be a new business owner in this amazing city," he said in a statement. "We have a lot to accomplish over the next few months and years, and I am excited to now call Seattle my second home."

Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said the company respected the judge's decision.

Starbucks had wanted to buy about half of Tully's 47 shops in Washington and California and turn them into Starbucks stores, while the rest of the company would keep the Tully's name under the ownership of AgriNurture, which is based in the Philippines.

One reason Tully's owner TC Global Inc. didn't pick the Starbucks-AgriNurture deal was the complicated relationship Tully's has with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. Green Mountain owns the wholesale side of Tully's brand, which includes coffee in bags and single-serve packs that are sold in supermarkets and other stores.

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