News Column

Actor Patrick Dempsey Wants to Buy Tully's

Dec, 26, 2012

Amy Martinez

Dr. McDreamy to the rescue?

Actor Patrick Dempsey, who played hunky Dr. Derek Shepherd in "Grey's Anatomy," said Wednesday he's leading a group of investors who aim to buy Seattle-based Tully's Coffee out of bankruptcy.

Dempsy did not disclose the bid's financial terms, but he promoted it as a way to save 500 jobs and give back to Seattle .

"I've always loved this city, and with the purchase of Tully's Coffee, I plan to spend a lot of time in Seattle and the stores connecting with the community and growing the Tully's brand," Dempsey said in a statement released by his publicist. "Seattle may be my home away from home in the very near future."

Dempsey is best known for his role as a surgeon on the TV series "Grey's Anatomy," set at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. Two years ago, the King County Council honored Dempsey for his real-life efforts to raise nearly $500,000 for Seattle Children's Hospital.

Tully's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, listing more than $3.7 million in debts. Tully's subsequently closed 19 unprofitable locations and now operates 47 corporate-owned stores in Washington and California.

The 20-year-old coffee chain also has partnerships with franchisees and grocery chains throughout the western United States and Asia. However, roasting and wholesale operations under the Tully's name belong to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Dempsey's group is not alone in making a bid for Tully's. Last month, Tully's said it reached a deal with private-equity firm Kachi Partners, of Boulder, Colo., to sell the business for $1.5 million in cash and the assumption of about $3 million in past and future liabilities.

Since then, Baristas Coffee, which owns six Seattle-area coffee drive-thrus staffed by "attractive female baristas in entertaining costumes," has proposed to pay about $1.5 million in cash for Tully's. It says it also would take on about $2.8 million in existing liabilities, and issue $6 million in unspecified "negotiable securities" to unsecured creditors and shareholders of Tully's.

A bankruptcy auction is scheduled for Jan. 3, with bids due Thursday.


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 The Seattle Times

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