U.S. Bankruptcy Court approves actor Dempsey's purchase of Tully's Coffee

SEATTLE -- Actor Patrick Dempsey and his investment group beat out Starbucks to win final U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval Friday to buy the Seattle-based Tully's Coffee chain for $9.15 million.

“Today was a big day for us, and I’m thrilled that we prevailed,” Dempsey said. “From day one, we have been focused on saving jobs, keeping Tully’s independent and infusing new life and enthusiasm into the company. 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.

"We have a lot to accomplish over the next few months and years," he added, "and I am excited to now call Seattle my second home.”

The decision by Bankruptcy Court Judge Karen Overstreet to approve Dempsey as the new owner of Tully's comes after an auction in Seattle Jan. 3, when Dempsey successfully out-bid six other suitors, including Starbucks.

Starbucks unsuccessfully sought Friday to convince the court that Dempsey’s bid should be rejected in favor of Starbucks’ bid, which, Dempsey said, would have resulted in store closures, job loses and less competition.

Dempsey, of the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, said he and his company, Global Baristas LLC, will save the jobs of about 500 people employed by Tully's.

Tully’s, a 20-year old Seattle institution, filed for bankruptcy late last year, placing the company’s employees at risk for being laid off after the New Year. The company operates 47 locations in Washington and California with numerous other franchises across the country.

“We are anxious to get started and will immediately begin the process of putting our vision to revive the company into place,” said Dempsey. “I can’t wait to spend more time at the stores getting to know our employees and customers, and hearing what they have to say>"

On Jan. 3, when Dempsey out-bid Starbucks and the others seeking to gain control of Tully's, the actor tweeted:   "We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and...SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle!"

He was referring to Starbucks' green mermaid logo.

On Friday, Jan. 4, Dempsey stopped in Tully’s shops in the Seattle area  and was greeted with cheers from employees. Dempsey said that when he found out he won the bidding war, it was one of the best days of his life.

"I come from a small town in Maine; it's a coastal community. I find a lot of similarities here. I truly love the weather, I like the rain, I like the overcast and I like what's going on here. It's a great opportunity to spend more time here,"  he said.

Dempsey's representatives confirmed on Dec. 26 that the actor was intent on leading a group of investors to purchase Tully's Coffee.

Dempsey has strong ties to Seattle -- beyond playing Dr. Derek Shepherd at the mythical Seattle Grace Hospital on the TV show "Grey's Anatomy," he previously raised close to a half-million dollars for Seattle Children’s Hospital and was honored for his efforts by the King County Council in 2010.