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Starbucks Could Burn Dempsey's Chance at Buying Coffee Shop

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Photo by Cinema Festival via Shutterstock
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When Seattle-based coffee house Tully's filed for bankruptcy last year, an unlikely candidate came to the rescue: Patrick Dempsey, more commonly known to the ladies as McDreamy. Dempsey was hell-bent on beating out Starbucks in the auction of the company whose was part of the bankruptcy proceedings. It seemed that Dempsey had beat the "green giant" fair and square, but now, just before the final January 11 sale date, it seems that there might be a glitch in his plans.

According to the AP, AgriNurture Inc. has teamed up with Starbucks to put in a bid for $10.6 million. The bid from Dempsey’s company, Global Baristas LLC, was for $9.2 million.

Starbucks has said it wants to convert some of Tully’s cafes to its own brand. AgriNurture, based in the Philippines, would run the rest under the Tully’s name. Cliff Burrows, who heads Starbucks’ Americas business, said he’s confident the company put forth the best bid with its companion bidder to give shareholders the most value. Dempsey said he’s confident the court will decide that Global Baristas submitted “the highest and best bid.”

Tully's, which has 47 company-owned stores in Washington and California as well as five franchised locations and 58 licensed locations throughout the Western US," has been around for 20 years. The vision for Tully's upon opening in 1992 was to rival the up-and-coming Starbucks. Locally, most Los Angeles-area locations have been closed down, leaving mainly those on college campuses and at the Bob Hope Airport.

The proposed sale goes before a bankruptcy judge in Seattle on Friday.