Tully's Confirms Patrick Dempsey Won Bid for Coffee Firm

PHOTO: Patrick Dempsey attends the "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" premiere in Times Square in New York, June 28, 2011.
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Actor Patrick Dempsey's $9.15 million bid for Seattle-based Tully's Coffee beat that of industry leader Starbucks, Tully's confirmed Thursday morning.

Dempsey is a member of Global Baristas, the investment group that includes the "Grey's Anatomy" star.

In a statement, the actor said he was "thrilled" to win and "even more excited about saving Tully's Coffee and its hundreds of jobs."

"Tully's is a great company with committed employees, and with its base in Seattle, one of the world's greatest cities, I'm confident we will be able to successfully build the brand and help grow the economy," he said in a statement provided by his publicist. "Seattle has been very good to me over my career, and I am honored to have the privilege to own Tully's and work closely with the company's employees."

On Thursday night, Dempsey, whose fans call him "McDreamy," tweeted: "We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and...SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle!"

A private auction process on Thursday included competitors Starbucks, also based in Seattle, and Baristas Coffee, which operates a chain of drive-thru espresso stands with female employees in revealing clothing.

"There were a lot of twists and turns throughout the day," Dempsey told ABC's KOMO-TV in Seattle, describing the auction. "We felt like we were up then we were losing it. It was very emotionally draining, and of course the stakes were so high."

He said the success of "Grey's Anatomy," which is set in Seattle but filmed in Los Angeles, has created a "fondness" for the Seattle community and that he hoped to protect Tully's 500 employees from unemployment.

"I think some of the players involved in this deal want to take those jobs away, and you're looking at an economy that's rough to get jobs," Dempsey told KOMO-TV. "I went by one of the stores yesterday and the employees are deeply concerned. That's one thing we care deeply about."

A spokesman for Starbucks told the Associated Press the coffee giant offered to buy 13 of Tully's company-owned stores in the area of Puget Sound plus 12 locations within Boeing Co. offices.

Ever-growing Starbucks announced on Thursday that it is moving beyond its 3,300 stores in 12 countries and will open its first store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in February.

In November, Starbucks announced that it acquired tea retailer, Teavana, which has 300 mall-based stores, for $620 million. Teavana CEO and co-founder Andrew Mack said the company will continue to operate from its headquarters in Atlanta.

Tully's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 10 and closed 19 locations. The company operates 47 company-owned stores in Washington and California and has franchisees and grocery chain coffee shops in the U.S. and Asia.

"We are very encouraged and excited that Patrick Dempsey's commitment to Tully's, to the company, the stores and perhaps most importantly, in keeping the members of Tully's family in place as they are today," Scott Pearson, CEO and President of TC Global, Inc., said in a statement. "This is a big win for Seattle."

The sale is expected to be finalized on Jan. 11 at a hearing in Seattle.

Tully's said the sale of TC Global Inc. "does not impact" the wholesale and online Tully's Coffee business and brand, which were purchased by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. in 2009.

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